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USCIS to Implement Online Pre-Registration System for Cap-Subject H-1B’s

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In November 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security first proposed a regulation that would require Petitioners filing cap-subject H-1B petitions to electronically register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) during a designated pre-registration period. Now, a year later, USCIS has implemented the regulation and is preparing to launch an online registration system for employers filing cap-subject H-1B’s for the upcoming fiscal year.

Previously, employers filing cap-subject H-1B’s needed to file a complete Petition for Non-Immigration Worker, accompanying documents and filing fee for any H-1B worker they sought to hire. However, due to the statutory limit or “cap” on the number of H-1B’s available each year, more than half of all timely-filed Petitions would be sent back to employers, causing tremendous disappointment for workers, and expense and disruption for employers.

The new pre-registration system is intended to eliminate unnecessary effort and expense by replacing the old system, which required employers to prepare and file large numbers of bulky H-1B Petitions which would then be rejected, with a new system which would pre-select the cases accepted under the lottery so that, following pre-selection and notification, only those cases chosen for processing will be submitted for review.

Using the new online H-1B pre-registration system, employers will be able to register any employees into the H-1B “cap” lottery by providing basic information about the company, the prospective H-1B worker, the attorney and whether the petition is to be counted under the Master’s or Regular Cap. For the upcoming FY 2021, the pre-registration period will be from March 1 through March 20, 2020. Each pre-registration will require a non-refundable $10 fee, payable by ACH, credit card or debit card. At the end of the pre-registration period, USICS will conduct a randomized lottery of the submissions and then notify employers whose Petitions were selected for review. Employers with selected cases will then have 90 days to file their I-129 petitions and accompanying documents to USCIS.

For the upcoming “cap” season, the Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch is preparing to submit online pre-registrations for Employers and will be circulating additional information, pre-registration questionnaires and document checklists in the beginning of the new year. Since this newly-implemented procedure is relying on newly-launched on-line platform, concerns remain about the functionality of the system and the efficacy of the process. However, the Law Office of Matthew I. Hirsch will be keeping a close eye on developments and will notify clients and others as to any changes in the pre-registration process.

For more information about the new H-1B online pre-registration process click here. For questions on pre-registration, the H-1B cap or preparing Petitions for filing under the H-1B for the coming year, contact us.

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