Breaking H-1B News & Updates

A lot has happened and changed in the world of H-1B visas over the last couple of years. So, If you're looking for the latest H-1B news, you've come to the right place. We have everything you need to know regarding H-1B visa changes. As soon as we receive updates they will be posted here. So, make sure to check this page regularly to stay on top of the latest news!

 

As business immigration specialists and top H-1B visa attorneys in Boston, our team at Savitz Law can help you navigate the process and answer any questions you may have about any of the latest news or changes. Don't hesitate to contact us today.

 

Here are the latest H-1B news updates:

USCIS Conducts Second Random Selection from Previously Submitted FY 2022 H-1B Cap Registrations

August 19th, 2021

In March 2021, USCIS conducted an initial random selection on properly submitted electronic registrations for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap, including for beneficiaries eligible for the advanced degree exemption. Per regulation, USCIS uses historical data related to approvals, denials, revocations, and other relevant factors to calculate the number of registrations needed to meet the H-1B cap for a given fiscal year. Only those petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2022 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.

 

The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2022 was from April 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. USCIS recently determined that they needed to select additional registrations to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations. On July 28, 2021, USCIS selected previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on July 28th began on August 2, 2021 and closes on November 3, 2021. 

An H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed at the correct service center and within the filing period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice. Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions. Petitioners filing H-1B petitions must do so by paper and must include a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petition. Registration selection only indicates that petitioners are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions; it does not indicate that the petition will be approved. Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still submit evidence and establish eligibility for petition approval based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements. 

Please contact us if you have any questions.  If you are looking for an H-1B visa attorney, we can help! We are here to assist you with filing your FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petitions & other immigration law needs.

FY 2022 H-1B Cap Petitions May Be Filed Starting April 1, 2021

April 1st, 2021

H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2022, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may be filed with USCIS beginning April 1, 2021, if based on a valid, selected registration for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration notice. The period for filing the H-1B cap-subject petition will be 90 days from the selection notice date.

 

Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions, so petitioners filing H-1B petitions must do so by paper. Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions must still establish eligibility for petition approval at the time the petition is filed and through adjudication, based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements. Selection in the registration process does not relieve the petitioner from submitting evidence or otherwise establishing eligibility, as registration only pertains to eligibility to file the H-1B cap-subject petition.

Please contact us if you have any questions.  If you are looking for an H-1B visa attorney, we can help! We are here to assist you with filing your FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petitions & other immigration law needs.

H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed

March 31st, 2021

In the latest USCIS press releases on H-1B 2022, USCIS announced that it received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap) including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap). USCIS  randomly selected from among the more than 300,000 registrations properly submitted to reach the cap. USCIS has notified all prospective petitioners with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration.

Registrants’ online accounts will now show one of the following statuses for each registration (that is, for each beneficiary registered):

  • Submitted: The registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection. If the initial selection process has been completed, this registration remains eligible, unless subsequently invalidated, for selection in any subsequent selections for the fiscal year for which it was submitted.
     

  • Selected: Selected to file an H-1B cap petition.
     

  • Denied: Multiple registrations were submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for the same beneficiary. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.
     

  • Invalidated-Failed Payment: A registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid.
     

USCIS Announces Initial Registration Period For FY 2022 H-1B Cap

February 5th, 2021

On February 5, 2021, USCIS announced that the initial registration period for the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 2022) H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 9, 2021, and run through noon Eastern on March 25, 2021. Each year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects 65,000 H-1B registrations for foreign nationals with at least a bachelor’s degree, and an additional 20,000 petitions for foreign nationals with an advanced degree from a U.S. institution. A computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the "lottery") is used to select a sufficient number of registrations to meet the 65,000 “regular cap”. The remaining registrations that are eligible for the H-1B advanced degree exemption and that were not selected under the regular cap are then placed into a separate lottery for random selection to meet the 20,000 “master’s cap”.

Based on last year’s H-1B cap registration process, prospective petitioners (also known as “registrants”) who wish to file H-1B cap-subject petitions will be required to register electronically and pay the associated $10 registration fee for each beneficiary. A petitioner is only eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition if they electronically register the beneficiary during the registration period and USCIS selects the registration submitted for the beneficiary through the random selection process. Once the beneficiary’s registration is selected in the lottery, the petitioner will need to file a complete petition with supporting documentation within 90 days to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility for a FY 2022 H-1B (October 1, 2021). Below is an estimated timeline with the steps for us to prepare and submit the H-1B registrations and petitions on your behalf.

H-1B Registration Timeline - 

 

Before March 9, 2021: Prospective employers need to create a myUSCIS registrant account (N/A if you already have an H-1B registrant account from last year’s electronic registration)

 

March 9, 2021: H-1B registration period opens

 

March 25, 2021: H-1B registration period closes

 

March 31, 2021: Date by which USCIS intends to notify registrants selected in the lottery

 

April 1, 2021: Earliest date that H-1B cap-subject petitions for October 1, 2021, may be filed

 

June 30, 2021: filing deadline for H-1B cap-subject petitions that were selected in the initial lottery

 

Last year, USCIS did not receive enough H-1B cap-subject petitions that were selected in the initial lottery to meet the annual cap. Therefore, on August 14, 2020, USCIS selected additional registrations to submit petitions for the FY 2021 H-1B cap. Employers with newly selected registration notices that said “August 2020 Selection of Reserve Registration” were able to file an H-1B petition for the beneficiary named in the selected registration between August 17, 2020, and November 16, 2020. While there is no guarantee, we believe that it is likely that we will see the same happen this year.

 

Please let us know as soon as possible if you have any employees who may require H-1B sponsorship, including employees who were not selected in last year’s lottery. Given the long delay between filing dates, anyone who is currently working pursuant to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) portion of their F-1 status should be considered for H-1B registration.

 

Please contact us if you have any questions.  We are here to help you with your H-1B registrations & other immigration law needs!

 

USCIS Rescinds 2017 Memo Rescinding 2000 Guidance on H-1B Computer-Related Positions

February 3rd, 2021

Today, the USCIS issued a policy memo noting that, in light of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Innova Solutions v. Baran, effective immediately, it is rescinding the 2017 policy memo (PM-602-0142), “Rescission of the December 22, 2000 ‘Guidance Memo on H1B Computer-Related Positions.’”

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Additional New H-1B Registrations Have Been Selected For Submission For FY 2021 Cap

August 14, 2020

USCIS issued notifications on August 14, 2020, that new H-1B registrations have been selected for submission. Employers should check their USCIS H-1B registration accounts for new selections. The newly selected cases have notices that say “August 2020 Selection of Reserve Registration” with a filing period of August 17, 2020 through November 16, 2020.

 

H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still establish eligibility for petition approval at the time the petition is filed and through adjudication, based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements. Selection in the registration process does not relieve the petitioner from submitting evidence or otherwise establishing eligibility, as registration only pertains to eligibility to file the H-1B cap-subject petition.

 

Please contact us here at Savitz Law today so that we may assist you in filing your H-1B cases.

U.S. Department Of Labor And U.S. Department Of Homeland Security Enter Into A Memorandum Of Agreement

August 10, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced it has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, acting through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Under this MOA, the Departments will provide access and share information about immigrant and nonimmigrant petition records and data contained within the Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s labor certification and labor condition application databases.

Most critically, the MOA establishes processes by which USCIS will refer suspected employer violations within the H-1B program to the Department of Labor that USCIS identifies in the course of adjudicating petitions – a source of information never previously accessed by the Department for enforcement purposes – and conducting administrative and targeted site visits. The enhanced collaboration and sources of information will be used by Department of Labor in support of Secretary-certified investigations.

The Secretary’s power to personally initiate investigations of potential violations is a unique authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows for more robust examinations of employers’ use of H-1B workers than are ordinarily undertaken. No previous Secretary of Labor has ever exercised this authority. As part of his broader effort to protect the interests of American workers during the coronavirus public health emergency, President Trump directed the Secretary of Labor to make use of this important enforcement power in Presidential Proclamation 10052. The MOA signed today will be central to the Department’s work carrying out the President’s policy of ensuring that the use of foreign labor does not harm American workers.

The MOA also sets procedures for the exchange of data as well as the responsibilities regarding the use, retention, maintenance, dissemination, destruction, and safeguarding of data. Information sharing is intended to support the administration of U.S. immigration law and combat fraud and abuse in the immigration system.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, President Trump has taken steps to ensure that American workers are well positioned to return to work as jobs come back online,” stated Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “The agreement signed today protects American workers by giving the Department of Labor an important new ability to launch investigations of potential fraud and abuse in the H-1B visa system.”

The MOA supersedes and replaces the MOA dated Jan. 12, 2017, and the corresponding 2019 addendum. It will be reviewed annually by both Departments.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency: Department of Labor

Date: July 31, 2020
Release Number: 20-1512-NAT

FY 2021 H-1B Cap Petitions May Be Filed as of April 1

April 1, 2020

 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that H-1B cap-subject petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2021, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may now be filed with USCIS if based on a valid selected registration. 

A petitioner is only eligible to file an FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition if they electronically registered the beneficiary in the H-1B registration process and USCIS selected the registration submitted for the beneficiary through the random selection process.

The H-1B electronic registration process was well-received by users, who provided a high satisfaction score with the system. Nearly 275,000 unique registrations were submitted during the initial registration period. Roughly 46% of all registrations were for prospective beneficiaries with U.S. advanced degrees. There were more than 40,000 registration accounts created, and nearly 81% of submitted registrations were for potential beneficiaries from India (67.7%) and China (13.2%). Prior to the launch of the electronic registration system, USCIS conducted robust public outreach to ensure users were equipped to effectively use the new system.

“The new H-1B electronic registration system has been an overall success. As a result of this modernized process, the amount of paper and data exchanged between USCIS and petitioners will dramatically decrease this year,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow. “The positive feedback received by users of the H-1B registration system, the limited amount of technical issues experienced during the registration period, and the ability to immediately respond to questions from registrants was the result of a comprehensive effort developed over the course of more than a year. This new registration system is one of many ways USCIS is improving the H-1B program.”

An H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed within the period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice. The period for filing the H-1B cap-subject petition will be at least 90 days. Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions, so petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions must do so by paper. Petitioners must include a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition.

Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still establish eligibility for petition approval at the time the petition is filed and through adjudication, based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements. Selection in the registration process does not relieve the petitioner from submitting evidence or otherwise establishing eligibility, as registration only pertains to eligibility to file the H-1B cap-subject petition.

Please contact us here at Savitz Law today so that we may assist you in filing your H-1B cases that have been selected in the H-1B registration lottery.  

 

USCIS Announces H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed For FY 2021

 

March 27, 2020

According to USCIS:

 

USCIS has received enough electronic registrations during the initial period to reach the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap). We randomly selected from among the registrations properly submitted. We intend to notify petitioners with selected registrations no later than March 31, 2020, that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration.

 

Registrants’ online accounts will now show one of the following statuses for each registration (that is, for each beneficiary registered):

  • Submitted: A registration status may continue to show “Submitted” after the initial selection process has been completed. “Submitted” registrations will remain in consideration for selection until the end of the fiscal year, at which point all registration statuses will be Selected, Not Selected, or Denied.

  • Selected: Selected to file an FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petition.

  • Denied: A duplicate registration was submitted by the same registrant for the same beneficiary, or a payment method was declined and not reconciled. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations you submitted for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.

 

Only petitioners with selected registrations may file H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2021, and only for the beneficiary in the applicable selected registration notice.  The filing period is between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020. 

 

If your submission has been selected in the H-1B registration lottery, please contact us here at Savitz Law so that we may assist you in filing your H-1B cases.

How To Create An H-1B Registrant Account For The New Electronic Registration Process

March 2020

In order to create an H-1B Registrant account, please use the following steps:

 

  1. Go to: https://myaccount.uscis.gov/users/sign_up.

  2. Enter your email address into the email and email confirmation fields and click on the “Sign Up” button.

  3. You will then receive a confirmation with instructions in an email from USCIS. After clicking on the link in the email, you will be redirected to the Terms of Use page. You must scroll to the bottom and accept the terms and click continue.

  4. Next, you will be prompted to create a password. Please write down your password to minimize potential issues regarding resetting your password.

  5. After setting your password, you will be asked to choose your preferred two-step verification method.

  6. You will then receive a message from USCIS via your preferred method of verification with a code for you to enter into the box on your screen. Enter the code and click submit.

  7. You will then see a two-step verification backup code. Follow the instructions and store the backup code somewhere safe in case you are ever locked out of your account.

  8. Next, you will be prompted to set and answer 5 password reset security questions. Select your desired questions from the drop-down menu and type in your answers. Please write down or print out the answers you filled in. Forgetting the answers to the questions will result in you having to call USCIS in order to recover your account if you forget your password at any point during the registration period.

  9. At this point, you will be asked to select an account type. Please only select “I am an H-1B registrant”.

  10. You have now successfully set up your account.

USCIS Releases A Federal Register Notice for the H-1B Registration Process For 2021 H-1B Petitions

January 2020

 

On 01/09/2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a Federal Register notice to formally announce the implementation of the H-1B registration process for the fiscal year 2021 H‑1B cap-subject petitions. This notice is required for the initial implementation of the registration process, as stated in the Jan. 31, 2019 H-1B registration final rule.

 

According to USCIS:

 

We will open an initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020, for the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations.

 

  • During this timeframe, H-1B cap-subject petitioners, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, seeking to file a FY 2021 H-1B cap petition will be required to first register electronically with USCIS and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each submission.

  • Prospective petitioners or their authorized representatives must electronically submit a separate registration naming each alien for whom they seek to file an H-1B cap-subject petition. Duplicate registrations are prohibited.

  • As described in the H-1B registration final rule, if more than a sufficient number of registrations are received, we will randomly select the number of registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2021 H-1B numerical allocations after the initial registration period closes and notify registrants with selected registrations no later than March 31, 2020.

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

 

We will not consider a cap-subject H-1B petition to be properly filed unless it is based on a valid, selected registration for the same beneficiary and the appropriate fiscal year unless the registration requirement is suspended. Additionally, although petitioners can register multiple aliens during a single online submission, a petitioner may only submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year. If a petitioner submits more than one registration per beneficiary in the same fiscal year, all registrations filed by that petitioner relating to that beneficiary for that fiscal year will be considered invalid.

 

Outreach activities will take place before the opening of the initial registration period to allow users the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new electronic registration process. We will conduct in-depth webinars and publish a series of videos for attorneys and general users to walk through the system step-by-step.

 

USCIS Announces Implementation of Electronic H-1B Cap and Lottery Registration Process

Dec 2019

On December 6, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will implement an electronic registration process for the upcoming H-1B lottery. This announcement confirms USCIS’s long-standing goal of implementing the new registration system for the Fiscal Year 2021 cap season (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021).  Registrations will take place in March of 2020, and the H-1B lottery will be conducted in April of 2020.  H-1B registrations selected in the lottery will be notified to submit their H-1B petitions after the lottery is completed.

The announcement states that USCIS has completed a successful pilot testing phase for the online H-1B registration system.  However, a number of critical details remain unknown at this time, including details of the registration process.  USCIS’s announcement said that they will post step-by-step instructions informing registrants how to complete the registration process on its website along with key dates and timelines as the initial registration period nears.  USCIS will also conduct public engagements and other outreach activities to ensure registrants and interested parties are familiar with the new registration system.  USCIS may determine it 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.

Employers should start to prepare now by identifying all employees and candidates who will be sponsored for the Fiscal Year 2021 H-1B cap.  We will send out our usual H-1B cap reminder email in January to start collecting the information we will need to prepare for the H-1B registration process.

For additional details on the H-1B cap registration program, please see the following:

https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-announces-implementation-h-1b-electronic-registration-process-fiscal-year-2021-cap-season


 

Please contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help! Bennett Savitz is a top H-1B visa attorney in the U.S., specializing in H-1B visas & other business immigration law needs.