USCIS announces H-1B visa petition start date for 2020

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it will begin accepting H-1B visa petitions for the Fiscal Year 2020 cap on 1st April 2019.

Any petitions for H-1B visas received before this date will be automatically rejected.

USCIS has also announced the launch of a new H-1B data hub, that will become available on on the same date. The data hub is part of USCIS’ continued effort to increase the transparency of the H-1B program. By using the hub, the public will have the ability to calculate approval and denial rates for H-1B visas and be able to review which employers are using the H-1B program.

“USCIS continually strives to improve the administration of the H-1B program and make it work better for employers, our agency, and US workers,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “We are also committed to fulfilling the president’s Buy American and Hire American executive order, one of the principal goals of which is to protect the interests of US workers in the administration of our immigration system, in part by promoting the proper functioning of the H-1B visa program.”

Cisnna continued: “Our new H-1B data hub will make information more accessible to the public, and the new selection process will help make the system more meritorious and better protect the wages of US workers. Additionally, our two-phased approach to premium processing will make the process more effective and efficient for employers and USCIS.”

The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialised knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty. Congress has set a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per fiscal year. An advanced degree exemption from the H-1B cap is available for 20,000 beneficiaries who have earned a US Master’s degree or higher from an American institution.

Article published 21st March 2019