New H-1B Visa Petitions Jump 37 Percent


Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer April 2, 2020
Indian office worker

Employers requested new H-1B visas for nearly 275,000 workers this year, a 37 percent increase over the last filing season, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). With many employers in operational limbo due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's unclear how many of the companies that had registered for H-1B workers will ultimately submit full applications for them. USCIS said that if there aren't enough petitions filed, the agency will pick more unselected petitions held in reserve to meet the cap.

We've rounded up resources and articles from SHRM Online and other trusted outlets on the news.

Diminished Odds

The 275,000 registered visa candidates were run through a lottery for 85,000 slots—20,000 of which are reserved for those with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions—for jobs beginning after Oct. 1. The overall odds of selection in the lottery were approximately 31 percent.

Last year, USCIS received a little over 201,000 petitions during the filing period.

Employers now have until June 30 to file full petitions for selected beneficiaries.


New System Gets High Marks

USCIS said that the new electronic pre-registration system used for the first time this year was well-received by users, who gave it a high satisfaction score. The new registration system allowed employers to register the foreign workers they wished to sponsor ahead of the lottery without preparing a full application. In past years, organizations had to prepare full petitions for all desired H-1B workers before submission to the lottery.

(SHRM Online)

All Expedited Visa Processing Paused

USCIS has suspended all premium processing visa services, including for H-1B cases, until at least May 27, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

(SHRM Online)

U.S. Immigration Practices, Services Upended

The escalating response to the spread of the coronavirus has impacted several facets of employment-based immigration to the United States. In addition to delays in case processing in the weeks ahead, some rules have been relaxed. For the duration of the COVID-19 National Emergency, USCIS will accept H-1B petitions with electronically reproduced original signatures instead of "wet" signatures.

(SHRM Online)


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