January 26, 2018
USCIS Confirms No Procedural Changes for H-1B Fiscal Year 2019 Cap Season
USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) has confirmed to the American Immigration Lawyers Association that they do not anticipate any procedural changes for the Fiscal Year 2019 cap season. Additionally, USCIS does not anticipate suspending premium processing for H-1B petitions not subject to the cap. However, USCIS notes that there may be a short suspension of premium processing for H-1B cap petitions.
Based on trends for last year, H-1B employers and workers should anticipate increased scrutiny of H-1B petitions and be prepared to see USCIS issue a higher rate of Requests for Evidence (“RFE”). Last year, USCIS issued approximately 40% more RFEs than it did in 2016. RFEs typically slow down the overall processing time for H-1B petitions, however, many are ultimately approved after a thorough response is submitted. USCIS has approved around 84.2% of H-1B petitions in the first two months of Fiscal Year 2018.