The H-1B Visa Cap for FY2019 Has Been Met

Law Firm Newswire



Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 6, 2018 – Even though the congressionally-mandated annual non-immigrant visa and the master’s exemption caps have been reached for FY 2019, USCIS continues to accept and process petitions exempt for the cap. Additionally, petitions that were filed for current H-1B employees, previously counted against the cap, but those who still have their cap number, are not to be counted toward the FY2019 H-1B cap.

While the immigration system has always been cumbersome, attempts have been made to reform it. Recently, under the Trump administration, USCIS has released new rulings regarding H-1B visas. The current uncertainty faced by immigrants seeking work in the United States has exacerbated the difficulties of finding work and successfully getting petitions approved and processed.

The H-1B annual cap limits, set by Congress, are at 65,000. The number of applications received for FY2019 was 94,213. The H-1B Master’s exemption reached its 20,000 limit quickly, but had 95,885 applications. The numbers reflect those that have been approved or are pending, but they do not include denied petitions.

“It’s important to understand that not all H-1B non-immigrant visas are subject to the annual cap,” explained respected Houston immigration attorney, Annie Banerjee. “Of the 65,000, 6,800 visas are earmarked for use under the U.S./Chile and U.S./Singapore free trade agreements. If there are unused visas left over, they are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.”

This year’s lottery is completed and those applying to work in the computer and IT industry may have a hard time landing jobs, particularly with computer consulting companies. “The reason they may have a difficult time is related to the fact that USCIS is confusing the H-1B specialty occupation in the computer niche with the L-1B specialized knowledge category,” added Banerjee.

The L-1B is a non-immigrant classification allowing an employer to transfer a worker with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge worker to the United States to help set up an office. Last year, USCIS only applied this difference with a distinction to computer jobs. This year, USCIS is applying the same rule to other fields like Bio Technical Research and Petroleum Engineering.

Recently, USCIS has ruled that Optional Practical Training (F1-OPT) applicants cannot work on a third party site. Since the purpose of OPT is training, then, if the employer cannot train personally, this ruling is invalid. Additionally, the OPT is cancelled if the student enrolls in a different program or changes schools.

“If you need assistance with H-1B visas or have other immigration issues in this area, my door is open to you,” said Banerjee.

Learn more at Law Offices of Annie Banerjee 131 Brooks Street, Suite #300 Sugar Land, Texas 77478 Phone: (281) 242-9139