USCIS announced that as of April 10, 2019, it received 201,011 H-1B petitions for the FY 2020 cap season — more than enough to meet both the regular (65,000) and the advanced degree exemption (20,000) caps.

At the same time, the denial rate for H-1B petitions reportedly hit 32 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

Since the “cap” was established, FY 2017 was the high point, with 236,000 petitions filed. By FY 2019, the numbers decreased to 190,098. This year marks a change in direction with approximately 10,000 more petitions filed.

USCIS allowed petitioners who were filing cap cases requesting a change of status to concurrently file premium processing requests. Premium processing receipt notices are starting to come in. At least some of those receipts note that the service center will adjudicate the cases within 15 calendar days of the “received date” in the notice. But USCIS previously announced that in order “to prioritize data entry for cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will not begin premium processing for these petitions immediately. USCIS will begin premium processing for these petitions no later than May 20, 2019, and will notify the public before premium processing begins for these petitions.” The notices and the announcement appear contradictory.

We will follow this matter and provide updates as they become available.