The start of the FY 2020 H-1B cap season begins on April 1, 2019. This year, USCIS will offer premium processing services in a two-phased approach to avoid temporary suspension of the service.
Change of Status H-1B Cap Petitions
Starting April 1, FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, may request premium processing by concurrently filing Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service.
However, to prioritize data entry for cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will not begin premium processing for these petitions immediately.
USCIS will begin premium processing for these petitions no later than May 20, 2019 and will notify the public before premium processing begins for these petitions.
If a petitioner does not file Form I-907 concurrently with an FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status, the petitioner must wait until premium processing begins to submit Form I-907.
All Other FY 2020 Cap-Subject Petitions
Premium processing services for all other FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not begin until at least June 19, 2019. Cap-subject petitioners who are not requesting a change of status may not submit their premium processing request concurrently with their H-1B petition. These petitioners will be eligible to upgrade to premium processing once premium processing begins for this group. USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for premium processing for cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status.
Changes to the H-1B Cap Selection Process
The Department of Homeland Security has amended regulations governing the selection process for the H-1B visa program.
Effective April 1, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption.
The electronic registration requirement will be suspended for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season but will be implemented in the future.
New H-1B Data Hub
USCIS will be unveiling a new H-1B Employer Data Hub on the USCIS website on April 1. The data hub is part of USCIS’ continued effort to increase the transparency of the H-1B program by allowing the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year, NAICS industry code, company name, city, state, or zip code. The data hub is an interesting component because it will create transparency and give stakeholders the ability to calculate approval and denial rates and to review which employers are using the H-1B program.
Good luck to everyone!