U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published H-1B FY2021 Cap Season new rules and processes. As a direct result of President Trump’s Executive Order “Buy American and Hire American,” The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and in particular USCIS, have been creating new proposed rules and regulations “to protect the interest of U.S. workers” and “ensure that [H-1B] visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”
As such, employers will now need to first electronically register all applications, including Advanced Degree,and pay an associated $10 registration fee.
USCIS will have the initial submission portal opened from March 1-March 20, 2020. Employers during this time will submit basic information about the organization and about each potential employee. Once the allotted application amount is reached, the electronic registration will choose the applicants from running a randomized-lottery selection. Only those selected will be able to file the full H-1B petition to USCIS.
Additionally, U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers with a U.S. Master’s or higher degree (Advanced Degree) will have a greater chance of having their applicants selected, as USCIS will be changing the selection process. USCIS will select those applicants for allocation first, which should increase the those Advanced Degree workers by 16% (or 5,340 workers).
Both of these new rules and processes were initially introduced in January 2019 but were suspended for H-1B FY2020 Cap Season to ensure accurate testing. These changes are intended to help streamline the H-1B Cap lottery process, including a reduction in paperwork, time, and cost savings for both USCIS and Employers (no more returned petitions!).
Full step-by-step instructions, key dates, and timelines will be posted closer to March 1, 2020. USCIS will also conduct public engagements and other outreach activities to ensure registrants and interested parties are familiar with the new registration system and process.