A group of business and immigration organizations have co-authored a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seeking information about the new H-1B electronic registration system. The letter to USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli was signed by 15 organizations, representing major U.S. companies, immigration practitioners and higher education institutions.

Key points:

  • The letter asks the agency to publicly confirm no later than Sept. 15 whether the H-1B registration system will be put in place for the fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap filing season, which opens this coming April.
  • The letter also requests beta-testing of the system before the agency rolls it out, and for USCIS to give businesses and other employment-immigration stakeholders an opportunity to participate in testing and vetting of the system for technical glitches.

Background: USCIS finalized a regulation in January that introduces a new online registration system for the H-1B lottery. The regulation requires all petitioners to submit an online form for each prospective H-1B employee. USCIS will select registrations from that pool, and then will permit successful petitioners to file full H-1B petitions on behalf of each beneficiary named in a selected registration. The agency has not yet provided details about how the registration system will work for this coming cap season, but has taken steps in recent months indicating it is moving forward with the H-1B registration tool. A rule that will impose a fee for each H-1B registration is also expected to be proposed in coming weeks.

BAL Analysis: The H-1B registration requirement is expected to be in place for the April 2020 cap season, but the agency has yet to provide specific details and deadlines for the new process. The letter seeks business-critical information to plan for cap season and expresses concerns about technical issues that could arise if the electronic registration system is launched without adequate testing. BAL is closely monitoring these developments and will update clients as more information about the H-1B registration system becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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