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Employers Take Word: Large Adjustments Forward for the H-1B Lottery, H-1B Submitting Course of, and USCIS Charges

The Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) lately introduced updates to the H-1B visa lottery course of, availability of on-line H-1B filings, and will increase to most U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers (USCIS) petition submitting charges. The H-1B visa lottery and on-line submitting adjustments will go into impact earlier than the following lottery opens on March 6, 2024, and the price enhance start on April 1, 2024.

H-1B Visa Lottery Adjustments

On October 23, 2023, the Biden administration printed a Proposed Rule to implement sweeping adjustments geared toward modernizing and streamlining the H-1B system. It included controversial provisions to tighten the definition of “specialty occupations” for H-1B candidates and to extend authorities audit authority for DHS, amongst different provisions, but additionally included adjustments to modernize the H-1B lottery registration course of system and enhance flexibilities for sure H-1B beneficiaries.

On February 2, 2024, DHS issued a Ultimate Rule entitled “Bettering the H-1B Registration Choice Course of and Program Integrity” which bifurcates the October 2023 Proposed Rule and implements solely a number of of the much less controversial provisions. Within the Ultimate Rule, DHS explains that it intends to handle plenty of different provisions within the October Proposed Rule at a later date.

The Ultimate Rule consists of the next provisions that shall be applied previous to this March’s H-1B lottery:

  • Implementation of a beneficiary-centric H-1B registration choice course of whereby every beneficiary (worker) could solely be chosen as soon as in every lottery, versus previous lotteries which allowed a beneficiary to be chosen a number of occasions if a number of employers submitted registrations for a similar beneficiary.
  • Begin date flexibility for sure cap-subject H-1B petitions that desire begin dates after October 1 of the related fiscal yr.
  • H-1B integrity measures requiring inclusion of a beneficiary’s legitimate passport or journey doc info within the lottery registration and growing DHS authority to disclaim a petition the place statements on the petition, registration, or LCA are fraudulent.

FY 2025 H-1B Cap Registration – “The H-1B Lottery”

USCIS lately introduced that the preliminary registration interval for the FY 2025 H-1B cap will open at midday Jap on March 6, 2024, and run by means of midday Jap on March 22, 2024. Following closure of the registration interval, USCIS will run a random, digital lottery to pick out this yr’s H-1B candidates. By means of background, this on-line registration course of will solely impression new H-1B visas topic to the annual quota or “cap” of 65,000 visas (Common cap) and an extra cap of 20,000 H-1B visas obtainable for “specialty employee” beneficiaries with superior levels from US schools or universities (US Masters cap). Furthermore, H-1B petitions filed by establishments of upper training, or a associated or affiliated nonprofit entity, and people filed by nonprofit or governmental analysis group, are exempt from the H-1B cap.

Employers in search of H-1B employees for this yr’s lottery (for phrases of employment beginning on October 1, 2024) will full a web-based registration type that solicits fundamental knowledge in regards to the firm and the possible H-1B worker/beneficiary (together with whether or not she or he holds a qualifying superior diploma) and pay $10 registration price for every beneficiary. Employers will file a separate registration for every proposed H-1B employee and, per present guidelines, employers are prohibited from submitting multiple registration per H-1B employee.

H-1B On-line Organizational Account Creation

USCIS additionally introduced the creation of on-line “organizational accounts” that can go dwell on February 28, 2024 and shall be included into this March’s H-1B registration course of. Organizational accounts will enable petitioning employers and authorized representatives to create, evaluation, and submit H-1B lottery registrations, H-1B petitions, and premium processing varieties, fully on-line.

The brand new, non-compulsory on-line ecosystem will enable petitioners to maneuver all the H-1B course of to a digital format, whereas H-1Bs and most different USCIS petitions are at present filed on paper, then uploaded at USCIS Processing Facilities. Correspondence associated to Requests for Proof, approvals, denials, or different issues associated to the case can be at present carried out in onerous copy and can shift to the net accounts. The brand new system is a daring transfer in the direction of full digitization of immigration processes that has lengthy been the purpose of DHS.

USCIS Price Will increase

USCIS is ready to implement a sweeping submitting price enhance for many visa petition classes, with most will increase going into impact on April 1, 2024, together with revised type variations for lots of the similar classes. USCIS is a fee-based group, its finances primarily comes from submitting charges, not from Congressional appropriations. Because of this, USCIS claims these price will increase are essential to cowl longstanding, multi-million-dollar budgetary shortcomings.

Examples of widespread submitting price will increase embrace:

  • Type I-129 L petitions enhance from $460 to $1,385
  • Type I-129 O petitions enhance from $460 to $1,055
  • Type I-539 dependent purposes enhance from $370 to $470
  • Type I-140 Immigrant Visa Petitions enhance from $700 to $715
  • Type I-485 Alter Standing purposes enhance from $1,140 to $1,440
  • Type I-765 Purposes for Employment Authorization enhance from $410 as much as $520

A blanket $600 price to cowl ballooning asylum administration prices (Asylum Program Price/APF) may also apply to most employer-filed petitions using Type I-129. Exceptions to H-1B will increase and the APF can be found for sure small employers (lower than 25 full-time workers) and nonprofits. The H-1B lottery registration price enhance from $10 to $215 won’t go into impact till the H-1B lottery held in March 2025.

On a associated word, USCIS beforehand announced the publication of a closing rule adjusting the premium processing charges, which can enhance submitting charges for Type I-907, efficient February 26, 2024. For H-1B and different nonimmigrant visa petitions filed by way of Type I-129, the premium processing price shall be elevated from $2,500 to $2,805.

Squire Patton Boggs will proceed to observe and supply updates on these developments. Please attain out to your SPB contacts for additional help.

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