Because getting an H-1B visa is such a sought after goal, the regulations surrounding it are constantly being altered to better suit both the petitioners and the USCIS. Since the 2016-2017 season, several changes have been put into place that affect H-1B petitioners and current visa holders alike.
The Federal Register has recently implemented a new rule that alters several aspects of the regulations involved with getting an H-1B as well as some aspects that impact those who already have a visa. For H1B Visa Process Visit UT Evaluators.
The first and most notable is the institution of a 60-day grace period that extends to current H-1B visa holders whose employment is terminated. Whether you have been laid off or your employer is no longer able to continue doing business, you will now have two months to either find a new employer, change your visa status, seek permanent legal residency, or leave the country while still “in status”.
The new rule also amends the language that the regulations use to describe how you may spend the 10-day grace periods that extend before and after your visa validation period. This change has made the language less limiting and allows visa holders to use the time as they see fit.
For those who are petitioning, the new rule expands the definition of a cap-exempt employer by amending how the USCIS defines certain institutions.
A. A non-profit institution will now be considered an organization whose fundamental activity is “to directly contribute to the research or education mission of the institution of higher education”. Previously, the organization needed to have that as its “primary purpose”, which was a more limiting phrase.
B. A governmental research center is now no longer limited to federal institutions. Both state and local research centers have been included in the definition.
As we mentioned earlier, the H-1B lottery has undergone a change that will go into effect for this 2020 filing season. The master’s lottery, which used to be conducted before the regular lottery, will now be conducted first in order to increase the chances for master’s petitions to be selected.
There is also another change that is slated to go into effect next year during the 2021 season. Rather than filing petitions to enter into the cap, the USCIS will begin an online pre-registration system that does not require petitions starting next year.
The USCIS will randomly select the beneficiaries from the registered applicants during the lottery and the sponsors of those who are selected will then file their petition packets. This is intended to make the process easier for the USCIS and to make it so that sponsors do not have to file lengthy petitions and fees just to have it all returned if they are not selected.
Your sponsoring employer should be aware of the recent changes made to the H-1B visa filing fees.
A. As of December 23, 2016, the petition filing fee for the I-129 form has gone up from $325 to $460.
B. As of December 18, 2015, according to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the additional Public Law fee has increased from $2,000 to $4,000. This is only applicable to employers that have 50 or more workers with half of them being under H-1B status.
C. As of August 31, 2018, the premium processing fee has increased from $1,225 to $1,410
As with all major changes, it is always best to work with your immigration attorney in order to assess how these alterations affect your petition or status. To know more information on H1B Visa check Pdagreen