On April 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) announced that the CIS received 199,000 FY-2017 H-1B petitions during the filing period from April 3 – 7, 2017. On April 11th, the CIS applied the required computer-generated random selection process (“lottery”) to select petitions under both the Master’s cap (20,000 cases) and Regular cap (up to 65,000 cases). The CIS has begun issuing receipt notices for those petitions selected in the lottery and sending them to employers and counsel by mail; however, it may take several weeks before all cases are receipted.
Cap-subject H-1B petitions not selected in the lottery will be returned to the employer, along with filing fees, unless the employer filed an impermissible “duplicate” filing. The CIS has not yet given a specific deadline for issuance of Receipt Notices or the return of unselected petitions.
Foster recently reported the Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions Beginning April 3, 2017. The CIS temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017 for up to six (6) months, or up to October 3, 2017. This suspension remains in place to date.
Petitions Not Subject to the Annual H-1B Quota
Employers may continue to file petitions not subject to the annual H-1B quota. Specifically, the following petitions may be filed even though the H-1B cap has been reached:
- H-1B Petition Extensions and Amendments for existing H-1B employees;
- H-1B Change of Employer petitions for candidates counted under a previous year’s H-1B cap who hold H-1B status and are seeking a change of employer;
- H-1B Petitions on behalf of employees of institutions of higher education;
- H-1B Petitions on behalf of employees of Nonprofit Organizations affiliated with institutions of higher education;
- H-1B Petitions on behalf of employees of Nonprofit Research Organizations or Governmental Research Organizations;
- H-1B Petitions on behalf of candidates who were previously granted H-1B status in the past six years and have not left the United States for more than one year after attaining H-1B status; and,
- H-1B Petitions filed on behalf of J-1 nonimmigrant physicians who have received a Conrad 30 J-1 waiver.
Other Work Authorized Categories
Other work authorized categories may be appropriate for beneficiaries not selected under the H-1B quota. These alternate immigration options include:
- H-1B1 category for Chileans and Singaporean specialty occupation professionals;
- TN category for NAFTA professionals – citizens of Canada or Mexico employed in certain professions;
- H-3 for temporary training, especially in preparation for employment with the company abroad;
- L-1 for certain intra-company transferees employed with the company abroad for at least one year;
- E-1 and E-2 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visa categories based on trade or investment treaties;
- E-3 category for Australian specialty occupation professionals;
- O-1 for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability; and,
- Under appropriate circumstances, short-term stays as B-1 visitors.
In addition to these work-authorized visa categories, dependent spouses of E and L visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization. Contact your Foster immigration attorney for more information on potential work authorization for any candidates who have E or L spouses in the United States. For more information, visit our website at www.fosterglobal.com.