Categories News & Updates USCIS

H-1B Cap Details Announced

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that the registration period for the fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 1 and run through noon Eastern on March 18, 2022.

In order to file a new H-1B case, employers must complete registrations using the USCIS online H-1B registration system. H-1B registration is a simple online process, where employers submit details for each candidate they intend to sponsor for a new H-1B. The online form avoids extra paperwork and cost for employers. The cost for registration is $10 per candidate.

New H-1B cases are limited to an annual quota of 85,000. Of these, 20,000 are available to those who have earned an advanced degree from a U.S. college or university, while the remaining 65,000 are available to other qualified candidates.

USCIS introduced the concept of H-1B registration two years ago. There were 380,613 registrations filed for FY 2022 and 275,000 registrations filed for FY 2021. When USCIS receives more registrations than the annual cap of 85,000, a random lottery is run on the overall pool of registrations. Once the lottery is completed, USCIS notifies successful selections, at which point a full H-1B petition must be filed for the corresponding candidate.

Prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives will be able to create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on Feb. 21. While companies can be set up in the system during this time, candidate information cannot be submitted until March 1st.

Anticipating that USCIS will receive more than 85,000 registrations by March 18th, they will run a lottery and notify successful registrants by March 31.

An H-1B cap-subject petition, including a petition for a beneficiary who is eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may only be filed by a petitioner whose registration for the beneficiary named in the H-1B petition was selected in the H-1B registration process.

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.

Categories News & Updates

Final Rule Reverts H-1B “Specialty Occupation” to Previous USCIS Standard

On October 8, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) titled “Strengthening the H-1B Non-Immigrant Visa Classification Program”. The IFR previously revised and narrowed the regulatory definition of and raised the standards for “specialty occupation” for H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants.

On December 1, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a judgment that blocked the implementation and enforcement of the IFR. In compliance with the vacatur, USCIS has vacated the IFR and restored the previous definition of and standard for the “specialty occupation” requirement.

Under the IFR, H-1B applicants were required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the exact field related to their position. For example, under the rule, employers seeking software engineers would not be allowed to hire applicants with an information technology degree. Nor would they be allowed to use experience or a combination of experience and education as a bachelor’s degree equivalency. Now that the IFR has been vacated, applicants can satisfy “specialty occupation” by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to their profession, or a work experience equivalency.

If you have any questions, please contact your Graham Adair attorney.

Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS Announces the H-1B Lottery Registration Procedures for this Year

Today, USCIS announced the H-1B lottery registration window and process for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B lottery that will take place on or before March 31, 2021. Registration for the electronic lottery will be open from March 9 – March 25, 2021. Registration will open at noon Eastern time on the 9th and close at noon Eastern time on the 25th.

As in last year’s lottery, the registration fee is $10. USCIS has indicated that those selected in the lottery will be notified on or before March 31, 2021, and will be eligible to submit applications as early as April 1, 2021.

USCIS has also announced that the selection of H-1B cases in this year’s lottery will be completely random. A rule previously published that would have ranked cases for selection based on their prevailing wage level has been postponed until at least December 31, 2021. It is yet to be seen whether this rule will be modified or withdrawn before it goes into effect next year. For this year, the process will remain the same as in previous years.

If you have a case that you would like to get registered in the H-1B lottery, please reach out to your attorney at Graham Adair.

Categories Department of Labor News & Updates USCIS

Insights on Proposed H-1B Regulation Changes

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has published some information on the possible regulatory changes that could be coming in the near future for the H-1B classification.  According to AILA, we can anticipate several proposed changes to the H-1B regulations.  These changes could include redefining “specialty occupation” to make it more restrictive than the current definition.  Changes to the rules around “employer-employee” relationships as it relates to 3rd party worksite placements, including changes to LCA requirements to make the 3rd party host part of the LCA process, are apparently being considered.  It is also anticipated that the Department of Labor will adjust prevailing wage requirements, which would impact H-1B petitions.

It is anticipated that these rules will be published as interim final rules and will go into effect immediately upon publishing.  It is also anticipated that there will be lawsuits filed to challenge the new regulations, which could lead to injunctions that would delay implementation of these new rules.

AILA anticipates that these rules are likely to be rolled out within the next 30 days.

Graham Adair is monitoring these rules very closely and will provide additional information as it becomes available.