Monday, April 2, 2018, employers may first apply for the Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B visas for individuals
not currently in H-1B status for a start date of
October 1, 2018.
During the first week applications were accepted for the Fiscal Year 2018,
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received approximately
199,000 H-1B petitions and conducted a random lottery to choose the 85,000
petitions for the H-1B cap—65,000 for the general category and 20,000
for the U.S. advanced degree category. This H-1B cap, however, does not
apply to extensions of H-1B status, those obtaining H-1B status to teach
at academic institutions, those teaching at related nonprofit or government
research organizations, or J wavier physicians.
Our Santa Barbara immigration attorneys at Appel & Morse anticipate
a similar high demand again for H-1B visas this year due to due to the
Trump administration’s goal to overhaul the program, potentially
leading to the deportation of 750,000 Indians. Silicon Valley companies,
including Google, Apple, and Intel argue they need the visas to hire highly
skilled foreign tech workers they can’t find in the United States.
According to 2015 Census Bureau data, the Silicon Valley Competitiveness
and Innovation Project (SVCIP) Report found that the nation’s biggest
technology companies rely on more foreign-born workers than domestic ones,
especially in Silicon Valley. At least 57 percent of Silicon Valley STEM
(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workers with a bachelor’s
degree or higher were born outside of the country.
Proposed changes to end extensions of H-1B visas under the Trump administration’s
“Buy American, Hire American” plan, first announced on the
2016 campaign trial, made hundreds of thousands of workers afraid of being
forced to leave the country.
But according to USCIS spokesman Jonathan Withington, he states that “USCIS
is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders
to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c)
of AC-21.” This section says that USCIS may grant H-1B extensions
at a maximum of three-year increments to beneficiaries of a petition to
become a permanent resident in the U.S.
If you are interested in filing for an H-1B visa in Southern California
or if you are approaching the six-year limit of your H-1B eligibility,
Santa Barbara immigration attorneys at
Appel & Morse today.