United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the H-1B electronic registration process for the FY2021 H-1B cap season, according to its December 6, 2019 announcement. The registration period will be from March 1 through March 20, 2020.
As we outlined in our November 20, 2019 legal update, USCIS expects the electronic registration process to streamline the H-1B cap filing process by requiring employers or their authorized representatives to complete an online registration for each cap-subject H-1B petition.
USCIS will then run the H-1B cap lottery (if needed) based on these registrations. Employers would only file petitions based on selected registrations. The lottery will be run no later than March 31, 2020 and employers will then have 90 days to file a cap-subject petition for selected registrations.
USCIS plans to conduct outreach and training prior to the implementation and intends to provide guidance on how to use the registration system before the opening of the registration period.
It is anticipated that, as in prior years, the H-1B cap will be met once the registration system opens and the H-1B cap selection process or lottery will again be conducted. Although the registration system will only require basic information about the company and beneficiary, employers should analyze each case to ensure it is approvable. Steps to take before registration may include:
- Identifying employees for whom a registration will be submitted
- Analyzing education to see if the beneficiary will qualify under the U.S. master’s degree cap exemption
- Obtaining credential evaluations for non-U.S. degrees
- Reviewing and analyzing immigration status
- Preparing Labor Condition Applications
- Obtaining detailed job descriptions
The electronic registration system is a significant change for the H-1B cap system, but if implemented smoothly, such a streamlined and efficient process will enhance the H-1B cap selection/lottery process for users and interested parties.
The Faegre Baker Daniels Immigration and Global Mobility (IGM) team will discuss the electronic registration system and other H-1B issues during a free webinar on January 15, 2020. The IGM team is also offering another free webinar, covering hot topics in U.S. and global immigration, on December 17, 2019.