It’s already February 2020 and it’s almost time to start processing H-1B cap petitions for your employees and prospective employees. The H-1B cap applies to all employees you currently employ in F-1 OPT or J-1 status or prospective employees you wish to sponsor, here or from abroad. The H-1B cap does not apply to H-1B extensions or people who currently hold H-1B status with another company and wish to transfer to yours.
USCIS announced some major changes about to happen to all H-1B CAP cases this coming year (2020). Unfortunately, we do not know all the specific details since the government has not released them, but in a nutshell, here is what we do know:
- There will be an initial registration period from March 1-March 20, 2020 where all H-1B CAP cases must be registered into a new USCIS system. Therefore, unlike previous years, the April 1st deadline for filing has now changed to March. After the March 20th deadline, there will be no further H-1B cases accepted for the entire year. We do not know exactly what this registration system will be, but it will require us to input some basic information about the employee and the company and some basic information about the position being offered. It will not require us to prepare and file a full H-1B petition or for you to pay the filing fees initially, unless the case gets selected in the lottery. There will be a $10 registration fee for each employee registered.
- Once the registration is complete on March 20, 2020, USCIS will then conduct the lottery. The government will conduct the lottery selection from all these registrations and only selected applicants will then have a limited time window to submit their applications to USCIS (possibly within 90 days) and pay the filing fees. As in previous years, we expect many more applicants to apply and for USCIS to exceed the allotted cap numbers.
- We believe this system will benefit the largest employers most of all (Microsoft, Cisco, Facebook, etc.) because the barrier to entry will be lowered and many more people and companies could apply than in previous years. It would therefore be important to conduct a strategy session with each of our clients after the new year in order to maximize your chances of success.
As we get closer to March, we will know more details and understand this new registration system better. We will continue to inform you of what this new process entails and our fees for this new process. If you already know employees that you will be sponsoring for the H-1B visa this year, please send us their name and job titles and a brief job description as a start. Once we have collected all the information from you, we can schedule a strategy session as soon as possible to ensure we have you and all your employees covered.
We look forward to working with you and your employees in this new H-1B CAP season.