H1-B Pre-Registration and Updates!

By Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.

USCIS has begun an electronic registration system for employers who wish to obtain H-1B visas for their employees. This will be the new method for the government to streamline the lottery process for H1Bs subject to the cap (both general and master’s degree cap). This system will require petitioning companies to submit information on the company and professionals they want to apply for in the H-1B lottery for the following fiscal year. There is a $10 fee for each employee during registration. Each employer can put up to 250 employee beneficiaries in one registration, and $10 for each of the beneficiaries. So the maximum amount to be paid in one registration would be $2500. The pre-registration period is from March 1st through March 20th.  All H1Bs that are being filed under the cap for Fiscal year 2021 (which starts October 1, 2020) but complete this pre-registration process and that is the only way that a petition will be picked in the lottery. Notification of the same should come by March 31st, assuming a sufficient number has been submitted through preregistration.     

Prospective petitioners with selected registrations will be eligible to file an FY 2021 cap-subject petition only for the alien named in the registration and within the filing period indicated on the eligibility notice.

 The new electronic registration system is expected to cause some confusion and possibly some problems because this is the first year of implementation and most, including some in government, don’t really understand the process and how it will work in practical terms. In fact as of March 1st, some attorneys are already expressing problems with the system and reporting inability to do their part of registration.  For those employers who have counsel/attorneys, there will be account process for the attorney and then an account process for the employer and they are interconnected so that preregistration can take place. AND absolutely no one should have duplicate filings for the same employee and same employer for the same job.  If that occurs the entire preregistration for that beneficiary will be cancelled as moot.

For successful applicants, the system will send a confirmation saying that the pre registration is complete.  Then it will be a wait game to find out if the applicant is picked. Pre Registration is supposed to be a way to reduce unnecessary work for employers in putting together full applications and to reduce the paperwork and burden on USCIS with an abundance of applications to be put through a lottery system.  In theory, the system should help reduce stress of deadlines with full applications, in a streamlined manner. The one big unknown is that this system is brand new and never been tested and therefore the problems that could occur are also all speculative.    

Image courtesy of thesatimes |

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