At this time each year, U.S. businesses seeking to meet their staffing needs by hiring foreign nationals make use of the H-1B visa program. The program is particularly useful for employers wishing to hire scientists, engineers, doctors, computer programmers, accountants, architects, and others in what the law defines as “specialty occupations.” Because the H-1B program is capped at 65,000 visas per US fiscal year (with exceptions for certain types of employers), the demand typically far exceeds the supply. As a result, in past years employers rushed to submit petitions on the first day that same would be accepted – April 1st of each calendar year and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) would conduct a lottery – selecting petitions at random to be further examined for substance and possible approval. Accordingly, in years past, many employers have expended time and money in filing H-1B petitions that were ultimately returned as having been rejected in the lottery process.
But alas, a new day has dawned!
Beginning with fiscal year 2020 – 2021, USCIS will require that employers and their authorized representatives create on-line accounts with USCIS and submit a separate electronic registration naming each alien for whom the employer seeks to file an H-1B petition. The registration fee is merely $10.00 per applicant and the information required is little more than that necessary to identify the employer and the applicant. Employers and authorized representatives may now begin to create those on-line accounts and begin the actual registration process. USCIS will then conduct a lottery of the registrations and employers with selected registrations will then be eligible to file the full H-1B petition starting April 1, 2020, for each alien named in the selected registrations.
It is only after being selected in the lottery that an employer is required to expend the time and money to compile and file the full, detailed H-1B petition. The new electronic registration process should save employers thousands of dollars and the needless frustration associated with compiling and submitting H-1B petitions only to have them returned as not being selected in the lottery as in past years.
Important Dates to remember:
February 14, 2020: Employers can begin creating H-1B Registration Accounts.
February 18, 2020: Representatives can begin creating H-1B Registration Accounts.
March 1, 2020: Registration opens.
March 20, 2020: Registration closes.
April 1, 2020: Filing begins for selected petitioners ONLY.
At Stock and Leader we are experienced at obtaining H-1B visas for employers with professional employees including engineers, doctors, graphic artists, and business professionals. If you are interested in employing a foreign national who may fit the criteria above, we would be happy to consult with you concerning your immigration needs.