USCIS Publishes NPRM Outlining H-1B Lottery Pre-Registration Process


Today, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens” that will implement an electronic pre-registration process for H-1B cap petitions wherein a full H-1B petition would be submitted only after acceptance in the pre-registration lottery. The change stems from directives in the April 2017 “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which call for reforms to the H-1B visa program to ensure that H-1Bs go to the “most-skilled” and “highest-paid” foreign workers. The rule is aims streamline the H-1B lottery process and increase the probability of selection for H-1B beneficiaries who possess a U.S. master’s or higher degree.

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USCIS Issues Policy Memo Limiting Use of TN Economist Classification

This week the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced the issuance of a new Policy Memorandum titled “TN Nonimmigrant Economists Are Defined by Qualifying Business Activity.” The memorandum is part of USCIS’s effort to align its adjudication practices with the directives of the President's "Buy American, Hire American" Executive Order and seeks to clarify, and limit, eligibility for TN nonimmigrant status under the occupational category for Economists. In particular, the memo states that, for purposes of TN classification, the profession of Economist must not primarily include the activity of other occupations, including, but not limited to, those performed by Financial Analysts, Market Research Analysts, or Marketing Specialists, and notes explicitly that those three specialties do not qualify for TN visa issuance.

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USCIS Issues Policy Memorandum Rescinding Prior Guidance Directing That Deference Be Given To Prior Visa Approvals

This week United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued a Policy Memorandum titled “Rescission of Guidance Regarding Deference to Prior Determinations of Eligibility in the Adjudication of Petitions for Extension of Nonimmigrant Status” which rescinds prior USCIS policy guidance permitting USCIS adjudicators to give deference to certain previously approved nonimmigrant visa petitions where the material facts underlying the petition remained unchanged. This policy had been in place since 2004 and was reaffirmed by USCIS in 2015.

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