The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally-mandated H-1B visa cap of 65,000 for the fiscal year 2019. In addition, the agency has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to fulfill the 20,000-visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, which is known as the “master’s cap.”
Keep in mind, petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will not be counted toward the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will also continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.
The agency will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the country
- Change current H-1B workers’ terms of employment
- Allow current H-1B workers to change employers
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position
The agency determines if an H-1B petition is subject to the FY 2019 cap by using the information provided in Sections 2 and 3 (or Part C) of the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement. Sections 2 and 3 can be found on pages 19-21 of Form I-129.
USCIS started accepting H-1B petitions that are subject to the FY 2019 cap on April 2, 2018. Petitioners may file an H-1B petition no more than six months before the employment start date requested for the beneficiary.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. IBM, Microsoft, Google, Ernst & Young, Amazon, Intel, Apple, and JPMorgan Chase are among the companies with the most H-1B workers.