H-1B Cap Filings and Problems
by Ray Law Immigration Group
If you are considering filing for an H-1B visa, you could face challenges, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The USCIS received a record number of H-1B visas, approximately 275,000, for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The USCIS instituted a pre-registration system in an attempt to streamline the process for applying for H-1B visas. All USCIS offices are currently closed, due to COVID-19, causing serious delays in processing applications.
Understanding the H-1B Visa Cap Process
H1-B visas allow employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Specialty occupations require at least a bachelor’s degree and specialized knowledge, or the equivalent of work experience. Those who receive H-1B visas will be able to stay for three years. They can apply to extend the visa to six years.
Every year, Congress limits the number of H-1B visas it will issue. This limit is called a cap. Congress has mandated a 65,000 cap on H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2020. Congress makes an exemption for 20,000 applicants who have a master’s degree or higher. This exemption is called the advanced degree exemption.
The USCIS May Have Denied Some Applications as Duplicates
Some H-1B applicants and their attorneys are complaining that the USCIS wrongly denied their new applications as duplicates when they were not duplicates at all. The issue of duplicate H-1B visas has been a problem for over a decade. When the USCIS started using electronic registrations, it thought that it could prevent duplicate registrations.
When the results of the 2020 electronic visa registration started coming through, the complaints about wrongful deletion started coming in. As of April 9, 2020, the American Lawyers Association reported that it received 61 complaints from attorneys who stated that at least 170 registrations were incorrectly denied as duplicates.
COVID-19 is Delaying Processing of H-1B Visas
The COVID-19 pandemic is delaying the processing of H-1B visas this year, as reported by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). President Trump has stated that he will institute bigger restrictions on U.S. immigration in the coming months that could result in greater delays.
The first day of filing for H-1B visas was April 1, 2020. The USCIS decided that it will not be immediately entering data for the fiscal year 2021 cap-subject petitions. In fact, the data entry and generation of notices will become delayed until at least May 1, 2020. USCIS plans to process data in the order in which they were received.
Contact an Experienced H-1B Visa Lawyer Today
At Ray Law International, our lawyers will guide you through the process of applying for an H-1B visa. Our lawyers stay on top of all of the recent developments involving H-1B visas. We will use that experience to help you apply for the visa and guide you through any problems or issues that could happen. Contact our New Jersey and Chicago immigration lawyers as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.