The proposed rule to reform the H-1B lottery has moved to the next stage of the regulatory process. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent the final version to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review on Friday, Jan. 11.

The proposed regulation, which USCIS published Dec. 3, would make two changes to the H-1B lottery process: (1) reversing the order of the regular and advanced-degree lotteries to increase the likelihood that individuals holding U.S. advanced degrees would be selected, and (2) introducing a mandatory online registration system for employers seeking to sponsor H-1B candidates under the annual cap. The agency accepted comments from the public until Jan. 2 and sent the final version of the proposed rule to OMB on Friday. An FAQ on the proposal is available here.

BAL Analysis: Though USCIS will likely publish the final regulation before the fiscal year 2020 cap filing window opens on April 1, it remains unclear whether the agency will require use of the online registration system this year. Companies should continue to prepare for the upcoming H-1B cap season. BAL is monitoring the progress of the rule and will continue to provide updates on timeline and implementation.

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

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