U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 200,000 H-1B petitions this cap season. After running both the Regular Cap lottery and the U.S. Master’s Cap lottery, the USCIS has begun issuing receipt notices. If this year is like previous years, this process will continue into June, and it will take even longer for USCIS to return rejected petitions.
In the meantime, F-1 students and others seeking a first-time H-1B are in limbo awaiting their fate. Employers eagerly await confirmation that their petitions have been selected and their search for candidates for hard-to-fill positions is over. And immigration attorneys are busy catching up on all things non-H-1B while anticipating another active request for evidence (RFE) season for H-1B cap petitions.
In each of the past two years, USCIS launched new campaigns of novel, or at least heretofore uncommon, RFEs in the adjudication of H-1B cap filings. Two years ago, USCIS quibbled with the employer’s determination of the proper occupational classification and wage level and asserted that entry-level professional positions do not qualify as ‘specialty occupations’ eligible for H-1B classification. Last year USCIS attacked the eligibility of such long-qualifying professional occupations as Computer Systems Analyst, Management Analyst, and Operations Research Analysts.
After the challenges of the last two years, we are more prepared than ever for the challenges to come and will work hand-in-hand with employers to present the strong legal arguments and evidence needed to address USCIS concerns in the H-1B petitioning process.
Stay tuned . . .
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