USCIS PROPOSES CHANGES TO H-1B LOTTERY PROCESS

Under this USCIS proposal, employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions must register electronically with USCIS during a designated registration period. Also, USCIS would reverse the order by which the agency selects H-1B petitions,  conducting the general lottery first, and then selecting the advanced degree exemption cases. The expectation is that more petitions would be selected for advanced degree applicants.  USCIS is accepting public feedback on the proposed regulation until January 2, 2019.

The electronic registration period would begin at least 14 calendar days before the first date the H-1B filing window opens each fiscal year, and would remain open for at least 14 calendar days. USCIS would give at least 30 calendar days’ notice of the registration period on the USCIS website.

USCIS would then conduct the annual H-1B lottery from the pool of timely-filed electronic registrants. The rule proposes that employers whose petitions are selected will be notified that they are eligible to file an H-1B petition within a designated filing period. The duration of the filing period for registrants who are selected would be at least 60 days. USCIS anticipates staggering notifications so that the thousands of H-1B petitions selected in the lottery are received over a period of time for more efficient adjudication.

Employers would need to file a separate registration for each beneficiary and would be limited to one registration per beneficiary for the same fiscal year. USCIS is not proposing to charge a fee for electronic registration at this time.

Given the late publication of the proposed regulation, it is uncertain whether the agency will be able to finalize and implement the proposed regulation in time for the FY2020 lottery.  Thus, we will proceed with FY2020 case preparation as in the past.

If you anticipate having any H-1B cap cases that will need to be filed during the April 2019 filing period, please contact Susan E. Lane ASAP!

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