Feds Want to Add Employer Preregistration to H-1B Visa Lottery
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has proposed to amend its regulations for applying for H-1B visas for temporary foreign workers in specialty occupations.
There is currently an H-1B visa lottery for 65,000 visa positions and a 20,000 limit for those eligible for an advanced degree exemption.
The proposed rule would create a mandatory online preregistration system, where employers file online registrations for intended workers during a two-week period before April 1.
USCIS would conduct a lottery and select enough registrations to meet the H-1B cap numbers. Those chosen under this lottery would then file a full H-1B petition.
USCIS expects that shifting to electronic registration would reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process for the agency.
Advanced Degree Exemption
The proposed rule would also change the order in which petitions are selected for the H-1B visa lottery to increase the number of beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher—from a U.S. institution of higher education—to be selected.
Under the proposed rule, USCIS would reverse the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption, likely increasing the number of beneficiaries with advanced degrees to be chosen for an H-1B cap number.
Currently, in years when the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption are both reached within the first five days that H-1B cap petitions may be filed, the advanced degree exemption is selected prior to the H-1B cap.
The proposed rule would reverse the selection order and count all registrations or petitions towards the number projected as needed to reach the H-1B cap first.
Once a sufficient number of registrations or petitions have been selected for the H-1B cap, USCIS would then select registrations or petitions towards the advanced degree exemption.
The proposed process would result in an estimated increase of up to 16% percent (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions.
Public comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before Jan. 2, 2019.
EXPLORE BY CATEGORY
Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests
The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.