For the fifth year in a row, the cap for H-1B visa applications was reached within five days. Some people in Maryland might be familiar with H-1B as the visa that allows workers to be temporarily employed in certain high-demand fields. The limit in 2017, as mandated by Congress, is 85,000 visas.
The application period opened on April 3, and on the morning of April 7, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the limit had been reached. In 2016, 236,000 people applied. A lottery is then used to determine who will receive the visas following a review.
There are also H-1B visas that are not subject to the cap. These include visas that are connected to nonprofits and universities. However, the Trump administration has been pushing for a crackdown on the abuse of the H-1B visa. The premium processing option has also been suspended temporarily. This allowed applicants to hear back in just over two weeks instead of waiting months, but the USCIS stopped it in hopes of lowering processing time overall.
How immigration law may change under the Trump administration is still uncertain, and people who are concerned about their immigration status might want to talk to an attorney. Even when the immigration landscape is less volatile, the paperwork and processes around immigration can be complex and confusing. A person may be concerned about deportation, or they may be seeking asylum. An attorney could keep a client informed of current laws and provide advice on the best path to immigration.