H-1B cap premium processing to begin April 27

14 Apr 15

UNITED STATES

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions April 27, the agency said Tuesday.

Before Tuesday, USCIS had said premium processing for H-1B processing would begin “no later than May 11, 2015.” The announcement that the premium processing will begin April 27 is particularly noteworthy given the extremely high number of H-1B petitions that were filed. Premium processing is an expedited service under which USCIS guarantees an approval notice, request for evidence, or denial within 15 calendar days.

USCIS received almost 233,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions during this year’s filing period, which began April 1. This year marked the third consecutive year in which the limit of H-1B cap-subject visas was reached within the first week of filing. The number of petitions filed topped last year’s tally by more than 60,000.

USCIS held a computer-generated lottery Monday to determine which of the petitions would be eligible for processing. Congressionally mandated caps limit the number of H-1B visas issued to 85,000 per year, a number which includes 20,000 reserved specifically for foreign nationals with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university.

BAL Analysis: The announcement that premium processing will begin sooner than originally estimated is good news for employers who are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the lottery. USCIS has already begun issuing a small number of initial H-1B cap receipts for premium processing cases and BAL expects that receipts will continue to be issued in the coming weeks.

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