March 20, 2008

USCIS Announces Interim Rule on H-1B Visas

The USCIS announced a new interim rule today that would:

  • Change from 2 days to 5 days the period of time during which cap-subject H-1Bs can be received to be included in any “lottery” that would occur if, as expected, the number of petitions exceeds the quota.
  • Prohibit multiple filings from the same employer for the same employee, even if the filings are for different jobs. The one exception would be that related employers could file separate petitions for the same employee.
  • Result in the denial or revocation (without refund of fees) of any petition found to have been a multiple filing.
  • Change the lottery system so that the 20,000 U.S. advanced degree cap cases are selected first. If any advanced degree cases are left after that process, they would go into the overall 65,000 pool.
  • State that no refunds will be made on cases where someone incorrectly claims a cap exemption.

The USCIS also indicated that it will continue to accept letters from authorized officials of schools indicating that a student has completed the requirements for a degree (i.e., all papers, exams, etc.) and is merely awaiting official conferral of the degree.

For more information, click the links below:

Fact Sheet on Changes to the FY2009 H-1B Program

USCIS Q&A on H-1B Program

USCIS Interim Rule on H-1B Filings

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 08031933 (posted Mar. 19, 2008)