DHS Finalizes H-1B Cap Registration Fee
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a final rule that will require employers to pay a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B cap registration submitted, once the electronic registration system is implemented. The final rule is effective December 9, 2019.
The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to petition for temporary work authorization for professionals working in specialty occupations. The H-1B visa is subject to an annual quota (or “cap”) of 65,000 visas each fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 visas available to beneficiaries holding a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
In January 2019 USCIS published a final rule introducing an electronic registration requirement for employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. Pursuant to the rule, before an employer may file an H-1B cap petition with USCIS, it must first register its intention with USCIS during a designated registration period. However, USCIS immediately postponed implementation of the registration requirement for fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap filings in order to create the electronic registration system and perform user testing. Additional information about the proposed electronic registration process is available here.
What Employers Can Expect
Appearing at the Society for Human Resource Management Global Mobility and Immigration Symposium on November 4, 2019, USCIS Acting Director Kenneth Cuccinelli expressed a high degree of confidence that the electronic registration system would be implemented for the FY2021 H-1B cap selection process. He further indicated that a determination of “go” or “no go” would be announced in 2019. USCIS will announce the implementation timeframe and registration period in the Federal Register once a final decision is made to implement the electronic registration system.
Once the electronic registration system is operational, all H-1B cap petitioners will first have to electronically register information related to the company and the intended beneficiary during a designated registration period. The $10 fee will be required when registrations are submitted. Once implemented, the registration system is expected to lower costs for petitioning employers, who will no longer have to prepare and submit full H-1B petitions unless their registration is selected the H-1B cap lottery.
More information on the H-1B visa and program requirements can be found here. For additional information, please contact your designated Gibney representative.