On March 8, 2005, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS) issued a press release stating that it
intends to accept petitions for the 20,000 new H-1Bs
authorized by the Omnibus Appropriations Act (OAA)
during Fiscal Year 2005 for all qualified H-1B
nonimmigrant workers, not just to those individuals
holding a master's or higher degree from a U.S.
institution of higher learning, as previously advised.
However, it is unclear whether USCIS has Congressional
authority to extend the 20,000 H-1B visas to all
USCIS's decision to open the new 20,000 H-1Bs to all
qualified individuals, not just holders of US advanced
degrees, is expected to launch a flood of H-1B
petitions. If this occurs, it is anticipated that the
new H-1Bs will go extremely quickly. USCIS has reiterated
that while the effective date of the OAA was March 8,
2005, no petitions for the new 20,000 H-1Bs should be
filed until USCIS issues guidance in the Federal
Register. No further information was released as to
when the guidance will be issued. Any petitions
submitted prior to USCIS publishing such guidance will be
rejected and returned unprocessed. For a review of
developments in connection with the new 20,000 H-1Bs,
please see our news item of
March 7, 2005.
Please note that non-cap subject cases can continue to
Jackson & Hertogs continues to monitor the situation and
will provide updated information to our clients as it
becomes available from USCIS and other sources.