The shutdown has closed the immigration court, but it won’t stop H-1B season. H-1B visas are issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and that agency is open since it is primarily supported by fees charged to those applying for visas and services. Those who wish to enter the H-1B lottery for fiscal year 2020 may do so starting April 1. The H-1B visa is used to bring skilled immigrants into the United States for three years, after which it can be renewed for another three years. The program has allotted 65,000 visas for fiscal year 2020.
We recommend that those interested in entering the lottery do so early in the process. USCIS usually terminates premium processing at some point when the volume of applications makes expedited service impossible, so the best way to make sure your application is processed is to get it in promptly. We also recommend that those considering entering the lottery consult an experienced immigration attorney since USCIS has been aggressive in its review of applications in recent years. Requests for additional information are common for entry level positions as well as positions in certain industries including the tech industry.
On Friday, President Trump tweeted, “H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S."
This is a nice sentiment, but since Trump has also been critical of H-1B visas in the past saying that they’re used to take jobs away from away from American workers. With that in mind, those submitting an application shouldn’t count on changes along those lines any time soon.