Immigration Alert: USCIS Announces Interim Rule on Cap-Subject H-1B Visas for Fiscal Year 2009


On March 19, 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an interim rule updating the existing rules governing the H-1B visa program. These rule changes primarily affect the implementation of the random H-1B cap lottery system, and also clarify USCIS’s policy regarding multiple H-1B petitions for the same H-1B worker.

As you may already know, Congress has placed a numerical “cap,” or limit, on H-1B visas of 65,000 (58,200 + 6,800 for nationals of Chile and Singapore) each year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for applicants holding U.S. master’s degrees or higher. All H-1B visas are gone for this current fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and employers may file for fiscal year 2009 H-1B visas commencing April 1, 2008 (for validity beginning on October 1, 2008). For fiscal year 2008, the number of H-1B applicants was double the number of visas available,

so USCIS used a random “lottery” system to determine which petitions would be accepted (and thus counted toward the numerical cap). For 2009, see full Alert.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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