March 19, 2008
USCIS transmitted an interim final rule to the Federal Register today, which will become effective when it is published. The changes include:
Accepting cap-subject H-1B petitions in the first 5 business days of filing for the lottery.
Changing the lottery system so that the 20,000 U.S. advanced degree cap cases are selected first. If the advanced degree cap is reached in the first 5 business days, USCIS will first conduct the random selection for these petitions. Those advanced degree cap cases that are not selected will be included in the lottery of the other 65,000 cap cases filed on the first five business days.
Prohibiting multiple filings from the same employer for the same employee, even if the filings are for different jobs. The one exception would be that related employers could file separate petition for the same employee. Any petition found to have been a multiple filing will be denied or revoked, without refund of fees.
No refunds will be made on cases where someone incorrectly claims a cap exemption.
Remaining the same:
USCIS will continue to accept letters from authorized school officials indicating that a student has completed the requirements for a degree and is merely awaiting official conferral of the degree.
USCIS will reject and return the filing fee(s) for all cap-subject H-1b petitions that are not selected in the lottery.
Premium Processing for cap-subject petitions will begin after the lottery process.
H-1B petitions where the alien will work at the defined institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated nonprofit entities, or at nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations are cap exempt.