The US Citizenship and Immigration Services says it has reached the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for the 2019 fiscal beginning October 1, 2018.
The agency, which looks after legal immigration into the US, in a statement on Friday also said it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa US advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows American technology companies to employ every year foreign workers in jobs that need special skills, especially from countries such as India.
Indian IT companies have been using the H-1B visa to keep costs down and have a margin advantage over multinationals by sending their engineers to the US.
However, these firms have been accused by the Trump administration of misusing the lottery-based system, which allows for 65,000 visas for the general category and a further 20,000 to those with a US Master’s degree from an accredited institution.
The Indian IT industry has denied this claim.
The USCIS said it “will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings.”
The agency will, however, continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.
Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY 2019 H-1B cap, it said.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the US; change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers; allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.