President Trump’s administration has made many changes to the immigration process. One of its most recent changes involves the H-1B visa program. A new ruling was announced on January 30, 2019, and it will take effect on April 1, 2019.
Three important changes include:

1. Changing the order in which H-1B petitions are selected—Beginning April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will first select H-1B petitions submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those who may be eligible for advanced degree exemption. Once the initial allocation of 65,000 visas is made, all remaining applicants with at least a Masters degree from a U.S. institution will be placed into the pool for the 20,000 visa advanced degree exemption. This change in the selection process means that the number of selected petitions for beneficiaries with advanced degrees from U.S. universities may increase.

2. Implementing (but suspending) an electronic registration requirement —USCIS will implement a new electronic registration requirement for H-1B lottery selection. However, public feedback led the USCIS to reconsider this requirement for the FY 2020 cap season in order to finalize testing procedures and to verify that both the electronic systems and registration processes are fully functional. USCIS will announce designated electronic registration periods at least 30 days in advance each fiscal year to give petitioners plenty of time to submit their information.

3. Reducing overall cost for petitioners—USCIS expects that the electronic registration requirements will reduce costs for petitioners and the agency itself. Immigration practitioners expect this change will decrease the odds of being selected in the H-1B lottery as a result of greater numbers of applicants taking advantage of the significantly-lowered cost of submitting a registration.

The changes to the H-1B visa program fall under a set of guidelines issued by President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, which was issued on April 18, 2017. The order specifically mentioned that the H-1B program be reformed in order to help ensure that petition beneficiaries with high levels of education or job-related skills are given preference during the selection process.

Confused? Concerned? We’re Here to Help.

Since President Trump took the oath of office in January 2017, there have been many changes to immigration laws and guidelines. It can be difficult to keep up with all of the changes that are currently in place and changes that may take effect in the future.

If you have questions or concerns about immigration, don’t hesitate to contact the Knoxville immigration lawyers at Jennings Immigration Law Office. Call us at (865) 470-0788 or schedule an appointment today. We stay on top of the ever-evolving landscape of immigration laws, and it’s our goal to make sure you and your loved ones are treated fairly.