March 27

USCIS Confirms There Will Be a Lottery for FY2018 H-1B Cap Cases

USCIS has confirmed that the process for receiving and receipting H-1B cap cases for FY2018 will be the same as in prior years. Therefore, a lottery will be conducted if, during the period of April 3–7, 2017, enough petitions are received to reach the 65,000 statutory H-1B cap and the 20,000 cap for petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, often referred to as the master’s cap. As in the past, a random computer selection will be run first for those petitions under the 20,000 master’s cap exemption. Any petitions not selected for the master’s cap will then be included in the random selection process for the 65,000 regular cap.

March 17

USCIS Reaches the H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2017

USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for FY2017. March 13, 2017, was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2017.

March 9

Practice Alert: New Edition and Supplement Form Required for Form I-130 Starting April 28

On March 6, 2017, USCIS updated its website to provide instructions on the new Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse and Beneficiary. Starting April 28, 2017, USCIS will only accept the 2/27/17 edition of Form I-130 petitions. AILA members who choose to continue filing using the 12/23/16 edition of Form I-130 until the April 27, 2017, deadline should continue to include two copies of Form G-325A (one for the beneficiary and one for the petitioner) in the filing.

March 1

Practice Alert: Erroneous H-1B Approval Notices with “1B1” Annotation

Immigration attorneys including myself have been receiving USCIS I-797 Notices of Approval for H-1B beneficiaries that are annotated “1B1,” even though the petition was not an H-1B1 petition filed on behalf of a citizen of Chile or Singapore. The California Service Center (CSC) has confirmed that this was a technical error that has now been resolved, and that amended notices that reflect the H-1B designation will be mailed this week. AILA is seeking confirmation from USCIS Service Center Operations (SCOPS) that the Vermont Service Center (VSC) and the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) will be handling these cases in the same manner, and will provide an update as soon as it becomes available.