The adjudication of H-1B cases filed since April 2012 has been woefully delayed and USCIS has provided little guidance on when these backlogs will be cleared. The H-1B cap was reach on June 11, 2012 for work commencing October, 1, 2012, but as late as mid-September more than 15,000 cases remained “untouched” by USCIS. While USCIS has finally completed its initial review of new cap-subject H-1B cases, it is still reviewing those cases that are pending due to requests for evidence (RFEs) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs). What is perhaps more troubling is that H-1B extension and change of status cases also are experiencing severe delays, despite a stated agency goal of adjudicating all H-1B cases within two months. These delays, however, cause significant burdens on employers and their employees in a whole host of ways. For example, employees who are still waiting for their approvals may not be able to travel internationally even if in connection with their employment, which in turn can translate into delayed projects, defaults on contracts, or reassignments of work, all of which undermines employer competitiveness and profitability.

Before you know it, it will be H-1B cap-subject filing season again. USCIS must do better.