USCIS has announced that it conducted the H-1B lottery on April 11, 2018. USCIS received just over 190,000 H-1B petitions this year, exceeding the the statutory cap of 65,000 and the master’s cap of 20,000, as expected. The number of application is down from last year, however, when 199,000 H-1Bs were filed.
USCIS uses a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019. USCIS conducted the lottery for the master’s cap first. All unselected master’s cap petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.
USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees unless the petition is a prohibited multiple filing. USCIS will send receipt notices to petitioners and their counsel for those cases selected in the lottery. Those mailings should begin right away but can take some weeks to complete.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted towards the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a policy memorandum clarifying the prohibition on multiple H-1B filings by “related entities (such as a parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate).”
Under USCIS regulations (8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(2)(i)(G)), an employer may not file more than one cap-subject H-1B for the same foreign national. The rule also prohibits related entities from filing for the same employee, and describes related entities as "...such as a parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate."
In a recent Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision, the US government decided that "related entities " includes companies that are not just related through common ownership or control. The AAO found that the words "such as" in the regulations meant that the examples following those words - "parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate" were just that - examples.
The AAO found that the Petitioner in Matter of S, Inc. was related to another company that filed a H-1B petition for the same employee even though both petitioners had different FEINs, locations,management, and ownership. USCIS construed related entities" as petitioners "...who submit multiple petitions for the same beneficiary for substantially the same job. Whether two jobs are “substantially the same” is an issue of fact that we determine based on the totality of the record. Some factors relevant to relatedness may include familial ties, proximity of locations, leadership structure, employment history, similar work assignments, and substantially similar supporting documentation."
In the instant case, the fact that both petitioners intended to place the foreign national in the same position for the same end client through the same mid-vendor caused the AAO to find that the petitioners were related. Given that there was no legitimate business need for two petitions, the H-1B approval was revoked.
If you have any questions about this case, or any H-1B or employment-based immigration matter, please contact Elaine Martin.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unexpectedly announced that it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B cap petitions that are filed for Fiscal Year 2019. This affects both regular and master's degree cap petitions that lawyers will be filing on April 2, 2018. The suspension is expected to last until September 10, 2018.
USCIS states that the reason for suspending Premium Processing is so that the agency can:
Most of my readers know that I am from Ireland. 10% of Americans have Irish ancestry, and this week millions of other Americans - and people around the world - will pretend to be Irish!.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.