This is the latest update on the
situation regarding the new 20,000 cap-exempt H-1B visas
under the Omnibus Appropriations Act for fiscal 2005
("The Act") that were required to be available as of
March 8, 2005.
On April 4, 2005, Bill Yates, Associate Director for
Operation of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services (USCIS), addressed the New York Chapter of the
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). He
indicated that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
is still reviewing the forthcoming regulation relating
to the filing procedures for the 20,000 Fiscal Year 2005
H-1B visa numbers. There is, as yet, no timeframe as to
when it might be published in the Federal Register.
Mr. Yates did suggest that the rule will contain
instructions on converting H-1Bs already filed for
Fiscal Year 2006 (start date October 1, 2005) into
Fiscal Year 2005 cases. He stated that any cases already
filed as FY2006 cases will neither be
advantaged nor disadvantaged when considered for the
20,000 FY2005 H-1B numbers.
Mr. Yates also indicated that USCIS will provide
instructions for pending H-1B cases with receipt
notices, for H-1B petitions filed and awaiting receipt
notices, as well as any H-1B petitions already approved
for an October 1, 2005 start date. He did not answer the
question of whether the 20,000 FY2005 numbers
will be available to all qualified H-1B nonimmigrant
workers, or whether they will be restricted to those
individuals holding a U.S. master's degree or higher, as
Congress originally intended.
Jackson & Hertogs continues to monitor the situation
closely, and will notify you as soon as we receive