H-1B cap reached in one week
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday that it had reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for FY 2018, just five days after opening the application process. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. This year, petitioners were unable to apply for premium processing, which has been temporarily suspended. USCIS has also received “a sufficient number” of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.
The Trump administration is strengthening enforcement of the program, and on April 3 announced multiple measures to “further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse” including “a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees.” In announcing the crackdown on fraud and abuse, USCIS said that the additional measures would help determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to recruit U.S. workers, and are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees.
The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty or its equivalent. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology. Tech companies have been watching the changes in the visa program closely, as many companies employ high skilled foreign workers using the visa.immigration, H-1B