With Congress deadlocked on passing needed budget legislation, it is looking increasingly likely that there will be a federal government shutdown at midnight on September 30, 2023. The shutdown will affect some federal agencies involved in immigration processes. It is impossible to know how long a shutdown would last. Historically, shutdowns have lasted from a few days to a few weeks.
This year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services reports that it selected 110,791 H-1B beneficiaries in the lottery —25,791 more than the cap. Because the number of eligible H-1B beneficiaries is substantially larger than the H-1B cap, even foreign nationals eligible for approval of an H-1B petition had a slim chance of being selected in this year’s lottery. Petitioners for those beneficiaries who were unsuccessful in the FY2024 H-1B lottery may consider applying for O-1A status.
While U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made clear that it would not be increasing the $2,500 premium processing fee in its latest round of proposed fee increases, the agency announced on January 12 its final phase of premium processing expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.
Beginning January 30, 2023, USCIS will accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for all EB-1 multinational executive and manager petitions and all EB-2 national interest waiver (NIW) petitions. Notably, unlike previous phases of premium processing expansion, this phase applies to all petitions, both new (initial) and previously filed (pending) under the EB-1 multinational executive and manager petitions and all EB-2 NIW categories.
Earlier this month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, proposing to increase the filing fees for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests, with employment-based petitions undoubtedly seeing the greatest increase across the board.
USCIS hosted a public engagement session on the proposed fee rule on January 11, in which Director Ur M. Jaddou emphasized that fees have remained unchanged since 2016 and cited several reasons for the fee increases: covering higher costs due to inflation, avoiding any future backlogs, improving the use of technology, improving customer service, and reducing processing time. She further noted that USCIS is making a conscious decision to limit the naturalization application fee increase to less than 5% in an ongoing effort to encourage legal permanent residents to pursue naturalization and that USCIS intends to expand fee waiver categories. The proposed rule would generate an additional $1.9 billion in fee-based revenue per year for USCIS, with the intended net result of minimally increasing fees for approximately one million filers each year. However, for employers who routinely sponsor nonimmigrant and immigrant workers, the increased fees pose a significant cost.
The FY2022 H-1B cap season is now underway. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adopted the same H-1B registration process as was used last year. Before filing a cap-subject H-1B petition, USCIS requires that employers or their authorized representatives first complete an online registration for each cap-subject H-1B petition. USCIS will then run the H-1B cap lottery (if needed) based on these registrations. Employers would only file petitions based on selected registrations.
Below are the dates to keep in mind for this year’s H-1B cap:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced updates to this year’s H-1B cap selection process. The government’s H-1B electronic registration process will open in one month, but there will be no changes to the selection process itself as implementation of the “H-1B Cap Selection Process Final Rule” is delayed until December 31, 2021. Stakeholders will want to pay close attention to the newly released registration dates along with an opportunity to learn more about the process directly from the Faegre Drinker team.
For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.