H-1B Season Is Here - The New Registration System And What It Means For You
By Ayda Akalin, Esq.
January 10, 2020
The H-1B cap filing season is nearly upon us, and as you may have heard, this year USCIS is implementing a brand new electronic registration system that will alter the H-1B lottery process significantly! The new system will be beneficial for companies looking to hire and sponsor foreign professionals for H-1B work visas.
The H-1B Electronic Registration System: An Overview
In years past, USCIS used a lottery system to determine the H-1B visa applications that would be selected for processing. This lottery was typically run in the second week of April, and employers would hear back from USCIS throughout the summer. Under the new electronic registration system, however, employers will be required to submit a separate electronic registration during an initial registration period, along with a $10.00 fee, for each cap-subject H-1B candidate that the company seeks to sponsor. The information to be submitted in this electronic registration process includes basic information on both the employer and the sponsored employee--such as the employer name, FEIN, mailing address, employer contact, employee's name, country of citizenship, and more.
As of today, the initial electronic registration period is expected to run from March 1, 2020 through March 20, 2020. At the end of this initial registration period, USCIS will conduct an electronic lottery using all of the registrations that it received during the initial registration period. After the lottery has been conducted and selections for processing are made, USCIS will notify the employers for each selected registration that they may then file an H-1B petition on behalf of those employees. Following notification, employers will then have 90 days to submit their petitions to USCIS.
What This Means For Employers
The new electronic registration system has several major benefits for employers:
Less Uncertainty - In years past, employers would routinely receive rejected H-1B petitions late into the summer--sometimes as late as July or August. What this meant was that both employers and employees alike would be left in limbo. Under the new electronic registration system, employers will know shortly after the conclusion of the initial registration period as to whether or not their employees have been selected to have their petitions submitted for processing—thereby enabling them to decide much earlier on as to the overall immigration strategy and viability of their employees.
Lower Costs - Under the new electronic registration system, employers will no longer be required to fully prepare and submit petitions on behalf of their employees unless they have been notified by USCIS that their electronic registration was selected. This will result in significantly lower up-front costs for employers seeking to employ H-1B cap-subject employees!
Better Odds for Master's Cap Candidates - The new electronic registration system retains the new order for the lottery that was introduced in 2019. What this means is that USCIS will first conduct its electronic lottery using all registrations, and then a second lottery from the remaining registrations that are eligible for the master's cap—thereby effectively increasing the odds of selection for employees who are eligible to file under the master's cap.
For More Information
Because of the heightened scrutiny that H-1B petitions have been subject to under the current administration, and because of the new procedures associated with the electronic registration system, it is imperative that all employers with any potential H-1B candidates contact us as soon as possible to determine their feasibility and viability. For more up-to-date information, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you soon!