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In 2020, the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services (“USCIS”) will change the method in which it will select H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions.  Petitioners seeking to file H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions will be required to register online between March 1 and March 20, 2020 for the H-1B lottery.  There will be a $10.00 processing fee for each registration, and it is possible we will see a significant surge in applications this year.  The registration process will require basic information, including:

PETITIONER/EMPLOYER INFORMATION:

  • Legal name of the prospective petitioning company or organization
  • The Doing Business As names of the prospective petitioning company or organization, if applicable
  • Employer identification number (EIN) of the prospective petitioning company or organization
  • Primary U.S. office address of the prospective petitioning company or organization
  • Legal name, title, and contact information (daytime phone number and email address) of the authorized signatory

BENEFICIARY INFORMATION:

  • Beneficiary’s legal name
  • Beneficiary’s gender
  • Whether the beneficiary has a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education such that the beneficiary is eligible for the advanced degree exemption 
  • Beneficiary’s date of birth
  • Beneficiary’s country of birth and Beneficiary’s country of citizenship
  • Beneficiary’s passport number

USCIS will randomly select 20,000 Master’s Cap cases and an additional 65,000 Regular Cap petitions.  As in the past, the lottery only applies to cap-subject foreign nationals and excludes employees of universities and certain research institutions as well as others who have already been counted.

If selected, employers will have 90 days to submit a complete H-1B petition with supporting documents, including a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), H-1B Petition and filing fees.  It is unknown at this time whether the USCIS will temporarily suspend the Premium Processing Service (“PPS”) during the designated filing period or limit it only to certain H-1B categories.  

In light of the uncertainty of the new procedures and increased scrutiny resulting from the Trump Administration’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order (No. 13788), now is the time for employers to consider whether to sponsor an employee for an H-1B visa.  Special planning should be considered for foreign students working under F-1 Optional Practical Training work authorization who have upcoming expiration dates.  

U.S. employers who wish petition for a foreign professional worker under the H1B visa category are encouraged to contact a knowledgeable immigration law firm such as U.S. Immigration Law Group, LLP to assess and prepare their H-1B petition as soon as possible.  

Should you have any questions and would like to schedule a consultation with our firm regarding the H-1B process, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (714) 494-4545.  

1 PPS guarantees review of a petition within 15 days of receipt, but delays could ensue should initial review lead to a Request for Evidence (“RFE”). Once the response to an RFE is submitted, the 15-day countdown begins anew. There are strategic reasons why PPS would be beneficial in a specific situation. Check with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance.

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