The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published in the Federal Register a new rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption and making two simple changes that will reduce overall costs for employers, make the program more efficient and cost-effective for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and increase the chances that these coveted visas go to individuals with an advanced degree from a US institution of higher education.
The said rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption and it introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for next year, fiscal year 2021. 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.
Currently, employers devote substantial time, money and resources to completing a full petition for inclusion in the H-1B lottery, if the petition isn't selected, all that time and money is wasted. After the new process is implemented, employers will provide only basic information online about their company and each requested foreign worker. The H-1B lottery will be selected based on the electronic registrations. Then the selected registrations will be eligible to file a full cap-subject petition.
USCIS will begin accepting H-1B cap petitions for FY 2020 on April 1, 2019 however, the new electronic registration process will not apply this year. When the electronic registration system is ready, USCIS will publish a notice in the Federal Register to announce the initial implementation of the H-1B registration process in advance of the cap season in which it will implement the requirement.