Includes Both “Advanced Degree” And “Regular” Categories

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it has received more than enough petitions during the initial filing period to fill the H-1B allocation for 2009. This includes both the 20,000 “advanced degree” category and the “regular” 65,000 cap.

Unless Congress increases H-1B availability, no new H-1Bs will be available until October 2009, with the filing period scheduled to begin on April 1, 2009. Extension, change-of-employer, and cap exempt employer (typically non-profit, educational and government institutions) filings, however, are not subject to the cap.

H-1B petitions filed during the initial filing period (April 1-7) will be part of the USCIS H-1B “lottery.” The 20,000 advanced degree cases will be selected first.

All advanced degree petitions not selected will then be part of the regular 65,000 lottery. Cases selected during the lottery will receive receipt notices. Cases not selected will be returned along with the filing fees.

Cap cases filed on behalf of F-1 students who have an Optical Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization expiring prior to October 1 may be able to benefit from the interim rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security on April 4. For additional information, visit the firm’s immigration website (www.visatrax.com).

Note: This article was published in the May/June 2008 issue of The Employment Law Authority.

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