Cap reached for additional H-2B visas for FY 2019

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Posted on Jun 11 2019

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received enough petitions to reach the additional maximum 30,000 visas made available for returning workers under the H-2B numerical limit (also called a cap) for fiscal year 2019.

As previously announced, USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 8 under the temporary final rule increasing the cap by up to 30,000 additional H-2B nonimmigrant visas for returning workers through the end of FY 2019.

USCIS will reject and return any cap-subject petitions received after June 5, together with any accompanying filing fees.

USCIS will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for:

• Current H-2B workers in the United States petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
• Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
• Workers performing labor or services in the CNMI and/or Guam from Nov. 28, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2029.

Premium processing
On June 10, USCIS began premium processing for all remaining FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions. Starting on that date, petitioners may file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with the USCIS service center that is processing their petition.

On March 19, USCIS announced that it would offer premium processing in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season to best manage premium processing requests without fully suspending it. 

In the past few years, USCIS suspended all premium processing for H-1B petitions due to high demand. Based on feedback from the public, it is using this phased approach to benefit petitioners and ensure efficient premium processing.

The first phase, which started on May 20, included FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase includes all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.

At this time, premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, remains available. 

Prepaid mailer temporary suspension
Starting on June 10 and continuing through the end of June 24, USCIS will not use prepaid mailers to send out final notices for premium processing for FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions not requesting a change of status. Instead, it will use regular mail. We will be doing this due to resource limitations as we work to process all premium processing petitions in a timely manner.

The process for printing approval notices and sending them by regular mail is fully automated. As such, and given the initial surge of premium processing requests for H-1B cap petitions and its impact on USCIS resources, using prepaid mailers may actually delay the issuance of an approval notice. After the two-week period, we intend to resume sending out final notices in prepaid mailers provided by petitioners, when operationally feasible. (USCIS)

Press Release
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