The Department of Homeland Security has announced that the proposed regulations making fundamental changes to the H-1B cap-selection process have been finalized and will be published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2019. Effective April 1, 2019, USCIS will implement changes to the order of cap selection. Specifically, USCIS will select 65,000 H-1B petitions from all cases received, inclusive of regular cap cases and advanced degree exception cases. USCIS will then select from the remaining advanced degree exception cases to fill the remaining 20,000 available H-1B slots. USCIS anticipates that the change in selection process will result in a 16% increase the number of selected petitions for those with master’s degree or higher from an U.S. institution.
The final rule also confirms that the implementation of the proposed electronic pre-registration process will be delayed pending further functionality testing and that companies should continue to prepare for the upcoming H-1B filing deadline as they as they have in the past. USCIS has confirmed it will publish a notice in the Federal Register to announce the initial implementation of the H-1B process registration process prior to the cap season in which it will implement the requirement.
Please contact your Polsinelli attorney or member of the Polsinelli Immigration practice group with any questions.