This blog was updated Dec. 17 to reflect some risks associated with electronic registration. Sign up for our upcoming webinar on electronic registration.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the H-1B electronic registration system for Fiscal Year 2021 cap season, the agency announced Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.
This announcement comes after the agency completed its pilot testing phase.
What Do I Need To Know?
Employers that are seeking to file H-1B visa cap petitions for FY 2021 will now need to first electronically register and pay an associated $10 registration fee. Employers will need to electronically register for advanced degrees as well.
Under this new registration process, employers will submit basic information about their organization and each requested worker. USCIS will open an initial registration period from March 1, 2020 to March 20, 2020.
The agency added that if the H-1B random selection process is needed will then be run on electronic registrations. "Only those with selected registration will be eligible to file H-1B visa cap petitions," USCIS said in a press release.
As the initial registration period nears, USCIS will post detailed instructions that inform registrations how to complete the registration process. The agency will also include key dates and timelines.
USCIS also stated, "The agency may determine it is necessary to continue accepting registrations, or open an additional registration period, if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions projected to reach the numerical allocations."
What Are The Risks?
The final rule indicates that USCIS may suspend electronic registration at any time if the system becomes inoperable for any reason. This could impact the overall lottery process, case preparation timelines and employee start dates.
Risk of Start Delays
Previously, case adjudication began immediately after a petition was selected in the lottery. Under the new system, however, adjudication happens on a "first-come, first-served" basis. The longer it takes to submit a petition, the higher the risk that an employee could be without work authorization or an employee start date may be delayed.
Sanctions on Employers
USCIS has indicated that "individuals or entities who falsely attest to the bona fides of the registration and submit frivolous registrations may be referred to the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies for investigations and further action as appropriate."
Streamline Selection Process
USCIS said that electronic registration will streamline the H-1B selection process and lead to cost savings and efficiencies.
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