With all of the news about COVID-19; and, with Consulates, USCIS offices and borders closing, it was easy to miss that the H-1b cap lottery registration ended last week. The USCIS has indicated that registrants who are chosen in the lottery will be notified by March 31st and then be given at least 90 days to file their H-1b cap petition. There is some speculation that the 90 day filing window may be expanded due to the effects of COVID-19. Please note that persons who are going to take advantage of the cap-gap rules must still file before the expiration of their EAD and may not have the full 90 days.
With the H-1b cap season in full swing, the USCIS has issued a new set of FAQ on the subject of "cap-gap". A "cap-gap" occurs when a foreign student's EAD card, issued pursuant to the OPT rules, expires prior to October 1, 2011. The USCIS has adopted rules that provides for an automatic extension that allows students to continue to be employed under the OPT provisions as long as their sponsoring employer has timely filed an H-1b cap subject petition that is properly receipted. An employer should be careful that the employee's I-9 form is properly completed in this situation. We applaud the USCIS for its "cap-gap" policy.