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.
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.
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.
As of February 28, 2017, USCIS had receipted 23,778 beneficiaries towards the 33,000 cap for the second half of FY2017. This count includes 14,348 approved and 9,430 pending beneficiaries.