USCIS will begin premium processing on Monday, June 10, for all remaining FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions.
Beginning in May 2019, I-94 numbers will be alphanumeric. Currently, I-94 numbers are 11 digits long and only contain numbers. I-94 numbers will remain at 11 characters but will follow the format of 9 digits, followed by a letter in the 10th position, and a digit in the 11th position.
On May 20, USCIS will begin premium processing for FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. So, if you have already received an electronic receipt for your H-1B petition, the 15-day clock will not begin until 5/20/2019.
Employers who did not file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, concurrently with an FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petition requesting a change of status must wait until premium processing begins on May 20 to submit Form I-907.
Denials for H-1B skilled worker visas jumped to a 10-year high in the first quarter of 2019.
The denial rate was 24% in FY2018, quadrupling from 6% in 2015. It never exceeded 8% from 2010 to 2015, the Obama years.
On April 10, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated regular cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption for fiscal year (FY) 2020.
USCIS received 201,011 H-1B petitions during the filing period.
Premium processing will be offered in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season so USCIS can best manage the premium processing requests without fully suspending it as in previous years. The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.
USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, for all H-1B petitions.
The rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on February 20, 2019, and is currently pending review. Once OMB completes its review, a notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register and will be open to the public for notice and comment. The proposed regulation will not take effect until finalized by DHS, a process that typically takes several months.
Please note that the text of the proposed rule has not yet been made available to the public.
USCIS recently updated its website with information regarding the agency’s practice of denying pending Form I-131 advance parole applications for abandonment due to international travel. Specifically, USCIS indicates on its website that if an applicant files Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, to request an advance parole document and departs the United States without possession of an advance parole document that is valid for the entire time the applicant is abroad, USCIS will consider the pending Form I-131 to be abandoned.
Recap: If you currently have a valid Advance Parole document while an application for a new advance parole document is pending at USCIS, international travel will not result in a denial of the pending application. This only applies if you are returning to the U.S. with an advance parole document. This does not apply if you need to return to the U.S. using a nonimmigrant visa.
DHS has updated their rule making agenda page with the possible effects of H4 EAD withdrawal along with estimated publish date to Nov, 2018 (11/00/2018).
We will post more news as it becomes available.