The Department of Homeland Security Announces New Rules for H-1B Visas

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released a new rule for public inspection that would change cap-regulations for H-1B petitions. The amended rule would also impact people eligible for the advanced degree exemption.

DHS’s final rule reverses the method U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) uses to select H-1B petitions while maintaining the cap and advanced degree exemption. The new rule will require electronic registration for those trying to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. It will be published in the Federal Register on January 31st. The rule goes into effect on April 1st, but the electronic registration requirement will be put on hold until the 2020 fiscal year.

According to USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna, “These simple and smart changes are a positive benefit for employers, the foreign workers they seek to employ, and the agency’s adjudicators, helping the H-1B visa program work better. The new registration system, once implemented, will lower overall costs for employers and increase government efficiency. We are also furthering President Trump’s goal of improving our immigration system by making a simple adjustment to the H-1B cap selection process. As a result, U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers with a U.S. master’s or higher degree will have a greater chance of selection in the H-1B lottery in years of excess demand for new H-1B visas.”

How Will the New Changes Be Implemented?

Starting on April 1st, USCIS will select H-1B petitions and those that might qualify for the advanced degree exemption. A number of remaining eligible petitions projected to reach the advanced degree exemption will be chosen by USCIS .

This new order will most likely result with more H-1B petitioners with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education being selected. The change is expected to increase the number of these types of petitioners by up to 16%. The reverse selection order will apply to petitions filed for the H-1B cap season in the 2020 fiscal year.

Why Was the Electronic Registration Suspended Until 2020?

Due to feedback from the public, USCIS decided to suspend the electronic registration until the 2020 fiscal year. USCIS says it will be testing to make sure the electronic registration system is fully functional. After the testing phase, H-1B cap petitioners will have to register electronically with USCIS during a designated registration period. Only selected registrations will be able to file an H-1B cap-subject petition.

According to USCIS officials, the implementation of the electronic registration requirement will lower overall costs for petitioners make the overall process more efficient. USCIS says it will publish a notice in the Federal Register and will conduct outreach to inform petitioners about how to access and use the new system. After the system has been implemented, USCIS will announce the designated electronic registration period at least 30 days before the fiscal year it is required for.

Immigration Lawyers Serving Houston

Do you have more questions about the new changes coming to H-1B petitions? If so, you should get in touch with our experienced team of legal advocates to discuss the details of your case. We can review your situation and explain all of your rights under the law. We are here to put our skills and resources to work for you today.

Call (713) 772-2300 to schedule a consultation with our immigration law attorneys in Houston.


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