H-1B News & Updates
New H-1B visa lottery process to favor applicants who have U.S. advanced degrees
U.S. Government will change how it processes H-1B visa lottery applications. According to the new procedure, immigration office will first select applicants for the general 65,000 cap and will include applicants with U.S. advanced degree towards this cap. Only after that, it will run the lottery for U.S. advanced degree to determine the 20,000 lucky selects.
According to USCIS, this will increase the chances of applicants with U.S. advanced degrees by more than 16%.
Previously, applicants with advanced degrees from the United States, first applied for one of 20,000 advanced degree visas. Those who were not selected, then were considered, among others, for the 65,000 visas.
H-1B applicants will now be able to apply online.
According to some sources, starting in 2019, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B applications electronically. U.S. companies will be required to first register on the USCIS website and then prepare and submit full H-1B packages online. That means that the agency will no longer need to physically receive and process hundreds of thousands of H-1B applications. This was the procedure until now.
Thus, according to the new rules, the transition to electronic registration will reduce the overall costs for petitioners, reduce waiting time and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B petition process for the companies.
More H-1B and L-1 visa applicants are being denied than ever before.
The U.S. government continues to deny more and more H-1B and L-1 visas. For example, between the third and fourth quarter of 2017, the denial rate rose whopping 41%.
After the new administration took over and President Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” presidential executive order, USCIS has heightened the requirements for business visa applicants.
USCIS continues to redefine who and under what circumstances qualifies for H-1B Visas. For example, it has heightened the salary requirements for such applicants and reinterpreted which professions qualify as specialty occupations. These are only some of the changes USCIS has implemented.
Moreover, the number of Requests for Evidence (RFE) has increased substantially over the past year. For example, in the 4th quarter of 2018, USCIS issued 63,184 RFEs, compared with 63,599 issued in quarters 1, 2, and 3.
With such heightened scrutiny, even most qualified applicants will have hard time obtaining H-1b visas. Therefore, we encourage applicants to retain experienced and qualified immigration attorneys.