On March 16, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, "in response to recent stakeholder feedback, it is reviewing its policy on H-1B cap exemptions for non-profit entities that are related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education." USCIS had been challenging the nature of such affiliations, especially in the context of hospitals and medical centers that are affiliated with institutions of higher education.
"Until further guidance is issued, USCIS is temporarily applying interim procedures to H-1B non-profit entity petitions filed with the agency seeking an exemption from the statutory H-1B numerical cap based on an affiliation with or relation to an institution of higher education.
Effective immediately, during this interim period USCIS will give deference to prior determinations made since June 6, 2006, that a non-profit entity is related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education – absent any significant change in circumstances or clear error in the prior adjudication – and, therefore, exempt from the H-1B statutory cap. However, the burden remains on the petitioner to show that its organization previously received approvals of its request for H-1B cap exemption as a non-profit entity that is related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education.
Petitioners may satisfy this burden by providing USCIS with evidence such as a copy of the previously approved cap-exempt petition (i.e. Form I-129 and pertinent attachments) and the previously issued applicable I-797 approval notice issued by USCIS since June 6, 2006, and any documentation that was submitted in support of the claimed cap exemption. Furthermore, USCIS suggests that petitioners include a statement attesting that their organization was approved as cap-exempt since June 6, 2006.
USCIS emphasizes that these measures will only remain in place on an interim basis. USCIS will engage the public on any forthcoming guidance."