Immigration Updates for Week of August 10th

17. Aug. 2020

USCIS Selects New Registrations in Second Round of H-1B Cap Lottery

After completing the first lottery in March, USCIS selected additional registrations to fill remaining spots of the 85,000 H-1B cap for Fiscal Year 2021 (beginning October 1, 2020). Notifications were sent to attorney representatives via email on Friday, August 15th, and ILG will complete informing all Petitioners who have newly selected employee beneficiaries no later than Monday, August 17th.  Petitions for newly selected registrations must be filed by November 16th.  At this time, we are unaware if additional selections (3rd round) will be made.

Public Charge Rule Injunction in Limbo

On August 12th, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that its decision on August 4th to uphold a prior injunction of the public charge rule is limited to NY, CT, and VT, putting the nationwide injunction in jeopardy. At this time, it remains to be seen whether USCIS will update its official position on the public charge rule. Until new guidance is issued, we will continue to follow the current policy of not including public charge information or documentation with petitions and applications.

Updates to National Interest Exceptions to Visa Bans

On August 12th, the Department of State (DOS) clarified the National Interest Exceptions (NIE) to Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052 which prohibited the issuance of immigrant visas and H-1B, L-1, and J-1 visas to those outside of the US and without a valid visa on June 24th.  The DOS reiterated that exceptions are available to those who are performing critical healthcare, medical research, government contract, or critical infrastructure roles in the US.

Most notably, the DOS specified that those who need to return to the US in H-1B or L-1 status to resume work with the same employer in the same role and visa classification may qualify for an NIE. Additionally, dependents of principal applicants who have been granted an NIE or who are not subject to the proclamations are also exempt.

Applicants who are subject to either proclamation, but who believe they may qualify for an exception, must request an emergency appointment with their nearest US consulate or embassy and provide specific details as to why they qualify for an exception. Even if you believe you qualify, it remains within the discretion of consular officials to grant or deny emergency appointments or exceptions.