USCIS Proposes Changes to H-1B Filing Procedure

 

On November 30, 2018 USCIS announced a proposal to change the way cap-subject H-1B Petitions are filed.

Until now, cap-subject H-1B Petitions could be filed after April 1 requesting a start date of October 1 for the upcoming fiscal year. Because the demand for numbers has far exceeded the available allocation during the past few years, it has been imperative for employers to file Petitions in the first few days of April.  Then, Petitions were selected for consideration in a random selection process.  Those not selected were returned to the Petitioner, along with the filing fees.

USCIS is now proposing that Petitioners electronically register proposed H-1B cases during a designated registration period.  This period would begin at least 14 days before April 1 and would remain open for at least 14 days.  There would be at least 30 days advance notice of the upcoming registration period.

The information required from the Petitioner and the prospective employee to register might include the following:

  • The employer’s name, identification number (EIN), and address;
  • the employer’s authorized representative’s name, job title, and contact information;
  • the beneficiary’s name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, gender, and passport number, as well as whether the beneficiary has obtained a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education;
  • the employer’s attorney or accredited representative, if applicable; and
  • any additional basic information requested by the registration system or USCIS.

The random selection process would then take place to choose Petitions for adjudication.  The selection process is designed to favor Petitions for candidates with a U.S. Master’s Degree.  Once selected, Petitioners would have 60 days to file the H-1B Petition.  USCIS will provide details on when and where to file.

USCIS admits that it is very unlikely that the system will be in place for the upcoming H-1B filing “season.”  Therefore, until we learn otherwise, we are advising clients to prepare for the upcoming H-1B season as done in prior years by starting early and preparing a robust and well-documented Petition for April filing.