H-1B LCA Statistics for FY2019 YTD

I said this in the past, and I’ll say it again: I love Statistics. I love it... just as long as I can avoid it. Thankfully, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification crunched the numbers and presented us with selected statistics for the H-1B Specialty Occupation Labor Condition Program (for Q1 of FY2019) and here are my observations.

The Office issued 85242 determinations, of which 1475 were denied. All were processed timely and they certified 175,189 H-1B positions in total!

Notably, the numbers have shifted tremendously since FY2016. Computer Systems Analyst is no longer the most certified occupation. Computer Systems Analyst positions went from 62,780 to 16,616 over the course of 3 years. This is in line with our suggestions from 2016 till date, that the Computer Systems Analyst position is still a viable (as seen, it is number 2) category to file an H-1B, however the number of forthcoming RFEs will deter most petitioners. Here’s what we said in 2016 and it still holds true:

“My colleagues in the industry also suggest that California Service Center puts Computer Systems Analysts under the microscope. Our recommendation is to make sure your job duties clearly articulate that it is a specialty occupation”

Just because Application Software Developer has become the top occupation, it does not guarantee USCIS will approve every such position. Perhaps one can also argue that the top occupation always brings the most scrutiny.

Till next time! Stay tuned and stay warm. 

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Sachin Raval Esq.

O: (646) 821-4000
M: (201) 255-7842
SRaval@ImmLegal.com
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Visa Bulletin for March 2019

DHS: New Rules for FY2020 Cap Selection Process

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted today for public inspection, a final rule which will go into effect on April 1st, amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption

Key Takeaways of the new rule:
- Reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption. This change in the rule is projected to result in an estimated increase of up to 16% (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected petitions for H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education

- Introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions (paused for FY2020 cap season.) Only those whose registrations are selected will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition. Once implemented, USCIS will announce the designated electronic registration period at least 30 days in advance for each fiscal year it is required.

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for FY2019 H-1B Cap Petitions

On Monday, January 28, 2019, USCIS will resume premium processing for all FY2019 H‑1B cap petitions for both masters and bachelor’s cap. Premium processing is still unavailable for amendments, change of employer cases, and other categories of filing except for the following:

  1. Cap-exempt petitions that are filed exclusively at the California Service Center because the employer is cap exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution, entity, or organization; or

  2. Those petitions filed exclusively at the Nebraska Service Center by an employer requesting a “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer”

BREAKING NEWS: H-1Bs & A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP UNDER TRUMP.

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President Trump just tweeted that H-1B holders should rest assured, positive changes are coming to the visa program and a "path to citizenship" for H-1B holders is possible under his administration. Trump said, "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S."

On one hand, Mission: India is increasingly challenging visa petitions, while the White House wants to facilitate the visa program. Let's hope we see progress!

Please stay in touch with Ramchand & Raval for future updates.

ALERT: 221(g) Visa Refusals Are Up In India for IT Pros, Here Are Strategies

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According to American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and its members, there is a significant increase in the number of INA 221(g) visa refusals at consular posts in Mission India. Individuals are being asked questions that are generally answered in the petition filed with USCIS. The questions are typically project-specific, such as questions regarding "technical descriptions, budgets, timeline, current status, the number and name of employees assigned to the project, along with title, salary, immigration status and employment start and end dates."

When asked by AILA's DOS Liaison Committee whether Department of State could make the statistics available, DOS declined due to “reciprocity and other diplomatic considerations.” However, DOS did confirm that they will be increasing personnel and thereby expanding the capacity at the Hyderabad and New Delhi facilities soon. Furthermore, they will be making renovations in Chennai.

Here are some strategies according to AILA:

  • Be prepared to discuss the job offered and the specific skill set required to perform the job.

  • Be prepared to provide a quick, but clear synopsis (15-30 seconds) explanation to the consular officer about the position and what you will do or will be doing. 

  • Be prepared to explain why you are important to the project.

  • Be prepared to explain how this position has a positive impact on the U.S. economy. According to AILA, this is important in light of the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order.

  • Have up-to-date resumes containing detailed information of their current and prior positions, education, publications, and other relevant experience.

  • Be prepared with client-site/third-party placement project information, e.g. work itinerary, an explanation of the supervisory reporting structure (you should be reporting to the petitioner), and other relevant information to establish the employer/employee relationship with the petitioner.

  • Be prepared as if it were an exam. If you search online, you will find positive and negative experiences of those who have gone through the consular process. Be calm but alert. Confidence comes from adequate practice, so study the entire petition that was filed with USCIS, find practice questions online and… Practice!

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Sachin Raval, Esq.

O: (646) 821-4000
M: (201) 255-7842
SRaval@ImmLegal.com
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