This year, USCIS will be using a new online H-1B registration system to select H-1B lottery winners before any H-1B cap-subject petitions can be filed. Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions must first register the company and each prospective H-1B employee. WR offers the following resources regarding the new H-1B lottery selection process:
- FREE H-1B Webinar
- Be Prepared: Initial H-1B Registration Period Opens in March, LCA Requirements Expanded, Audits/Inspections Continue
- Employer’s At-a-Glance Guide to USCIS’ New H-1B Lottery Process
When can an employer create an online account?
Each sponsoring entity must create an online account at https://my.uscis.gov/ beginning on February 24, 2020 until March 20, 2020. Starting at noon ET on March 1, 2020, employers and immigration attorneys will be able to submit H-1B cap registrations.
How will USCIS notify companies of H-1B lottery selection?
USCIS will electronically notify companies and organizations eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions on behalf of beneficiaries selected in the lottery. Specifically, the account holder who submitted the registration will receive notification via email or text message stating that an action has been added to their account. They will need to log into the account to view the full notice, which will name the selected beneficiary.
Will I need to include a selection notice in the H-1B petition?
Yes, the selection notice must be printed out and included with the H-1B petition. Selection notices are specific to each beneficiary and may not be substituted for another beneficiary.
What happens if a beneficiary is not selected in the initial lottery?
If USCIS receives more than enough registrations than needed to meet the regular H-1B cap and advanced degree exemption, all registrations that were not selected in the lottery will remain on reserve for the applicable fiscal year. If USCIS needs to select more registrants to meet the regular cap and/or the advanced degree exemption, USCIS would select from among the registrations on reserve to meet the cap or advanced degree exemption, or re-open the registration period if additional registrations are needed to meet the new projected amount.
Has USCIS provided information about technical support for the online pre-registration process?
Yes, technical support will be available at https://my.uscis.gov/account/v1/needhelp. Employers may also call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. Additional information can be found at uscis.gov/H-1B.
May a registration be edited after it has been submitted?
During the registration period, USCIS will permit users to review and edit registrations as many times as needed before the registration is submitted. After submission, a registration may be deleted, and then re-drafted and re-submitted prior to the close of the registration period. A new $10 registration fee will be required. If multiple beneficiaries are included in one registration, an employer may delete one beneficiary without affecting the other beneficiaries.
The regulations seem to indicate that cases that are not filed will be flagged for fraud, but is there a mechanism to deal with a situation where cases aren’t filed for legitimate reasons?
DHS has not indicated the exact process through which fraudulent cases will be addressed or any method of redress. However, in the preamble to the H-1B registration final rule, DHS notes that cases that demonstrate a pattern and practice of potential abuse of the registration system will involve a case-by-case review of the facts involved, including any mitigating facts or circumstance. It further notes that registrants that have been found to engage in a pattern and practice of submitting registrations for which they do not file a petition following selection, could be subject to monetary fines or criminal penalties pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 1001(a)(3) for making false statements and misrepresentations to the government.
Is there a possibility that the H-1B pre-registration process will be canceled?
According to the Federal Register, Vol. 84, No. 21, Page 956, Section (IV) (January 31, 2019), USCIS may suspend the registration requirement, at its discretion, if it deems the registration system inoperable at any time. For this reason, many employers are opting to prepare complete H-1B petitions before the filing window opens on April 1st, 2020.