19 Mar 2019: US to accept new H-1B visa petitions from 1 April
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be reportedly accepting new H-1B visa petitions for fiscal 2020 from 1 April. For these, the employment start date would be 1 October, reported American Bazaar.
While the regular 65,000 visa cap for H-1B remains the same, an additional 20,000 petitioners, who possess Master's or higher degrees from American universities, will also be eligible.
Fact: What is H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on the visa to hire employees every year, especially from countries like India and China.
Details: USCIS introduced a change in the order for counting allocations
Many lawyers say this fiscal would be "extraordinary" for H-1B because of the continued scrutiny and changes to some rules as announced earlier. USCIS, earlier in January, had changed the order in which it would count the allocations.
USCIS will now put all H-1B petitions in the regular cap, including the advanced degree ones. It will select the remaining petitions in the second round.
Fact: H-1B beneficiaries with advanced US degrees
USCIS's new order is likely to increase the chances of petitioners with a US Master's degree for getting the visa. The agency said the new change would hike the number of H-1B beneficiaries with advanced US degrees by an estimated 16%, or 5,340 workers.
Applications: The 85,000-cap expected to be reached within five days
Florida-based paralegal Vishal Ghadia was quoted by American Bazaar as saying, "In the last six years, USCIS has received enough H-1B applications to fill the 85,000 cap within the first five working days of the month of April."
"This time, too, we can expect the cap to reach within five days and the number of H-1B applications similar to last few years," Ghadia said.
H-1B filings: We expect fewer H-1B filings, says immigration attorney Sheela Murthy
Some lawyers expect the "apparent crackdown" on H-1B and "negative sentiment around immigration" to have an impact on the visa filings.
Prominent immigration attorney Sheela Murthy said, "We expect fewer H-1B filings since many employers are frustrated with the system and the administration that has its head in the sand regarding the shortage of high-skilled workers to keep up the momentum of our economy."