Tuesday, April 18, 2017


USCIS announced on April 17, 2017, that it has received 199,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions, which is about 20% fewer than the 236,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were received in 2016 and the 233,000 that were received in 2015.  USCIS is in the process of running the H-1B lottery and notifying H-1B cap winners.  Petitioners should expect about 43% of their H-1B cap filings to be H-1B cap winners.

As announced on March 3, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions, for up to six months.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Amend the H-1B petition to notify the USCIS of the filing of a new LCA and/or geographic change in employment;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second, contemporaneous part-time H-1B position. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


The USCIS has issued a Policy Memorandum that will likely lead to denial of Computer-related positions where the employer uses a Level 1 OES wage.  Accordingly, MU Law recommends that all clients use at least Level Two OES wages, or use alternative wage surveys.  The new Policy Memorandum takes immediate effect and will be used for all H-1B petitions: H-1B cap, H-1B extensions, H-1B transfers, and H-1B amendments.   

The March 31, 2017 Policy Memorandum rescinds a seventeen-year-old December 22, 2000 Policy Memorandum, issued by Nebraska Service Center then-Director Terry Way.  There is little doubt that the new Policy Memorandum is a direct result of immigration restrictionists in the USCIS who feel emboldened by the new Trump presidency.  It remains to be seen how restrictive USCIS officers will be as they interpret forthcoming computer H-1B petitions.

At virtually the same time, USCIS also has issued additional measures aimed at perceived abuses in the H-1B program.  The April 3, 2017 press release says that these site visits will focus on:
-Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data;
-H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute); and 

-Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.