USCIS Implementation of New Electronic Registration for H-1B Lottery

On December 9, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that it will implement its new electronic H-1B registration system for this upcoming fiscal year (FY2021) H-1B lottery. Employers seeking to file cap-subject H-1B petitions will now be required to electronically register each prospective candidate for selection beginning on March 1, 2020, through March 20, 2020. Assuming that the number of registrations exceed the quota, USCIS will then run the lottery on the electronic submissions. Only those candidates chosen in the lottery will be authorized to have employers submit a full H-1B petition on their behalf to the USCIS for adjudication.

The initial registration will require basic information about the employer, the candidate, and the potential position. Employers must pay a $10 registration fee per H-1B candidate. The employer will only pay a government application filing fees if the H-1B registrant is selected.

Employers may consider identifying all employees or candidates whom they wish to sponsor under the FY2021 H-1B cap. Because there is no longer a substantial financial burden placed on employers prior to determining whether an H-1B petition will be accepted into the lottery, they may register all eligible beneficiaries to the extent that the beneficiary qualifies and there is a desire to employ such person under H-1B status.

Please note, USCIS still reserves the right to suspend electronic registration if there are technical difficulties with the new H-1B registration program. Therefore, employers should plan for this contingency by collecting the relevant documentation and information should they be required during the first five business days in April 2020 if USCIS decides to suspend or not move forward with the new registration system, at the agency’s own discretion. The complete notice can be found here.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Hahn Loeser’s Immigration Practice Group.