U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun issuing its first receipts to H-1B cap petitioners for fiscal year 2019.

Key points:

  • BAL began receiving receipts late this week and expects more over the coming weeks.
  • USCIS announced last week that it completed a lottery to select petitions for adjudication, after receiving 190,098 petitions in the first week of filling.
  • Employers whose petitions were selected will receive receipt notices and, if the petitions are approved, employees will be eligible to begin work in H-1B status beginning Oct. 1, the start of the 2019 fiscal year.
  • Petitions subject to the cap that were not selected in the lottery or that were received after the filing period closed on April 6 will be returned along with their filing fees.
  • USCIS has suspended premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions. The suspension is expected to remain in effect until Sept. 10.

Background: H-1B petitions are capped at 65,000 visas for individuals with an undergraduate or equivalent degree and 20,000 visas for individuals with a master’s degree or higher from U.S. universities.

BAL Analysis: The issuance of the first H-1B cap receipts is welcome news, but it will likely take weeks before all receipts are issued for selected applicants. Employers whose petitions are not selected are encouraged to contact their BAL professional for advice on alternatives to the H-1B visa category and other strategic options to fulfill workforce needs.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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