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Preparing for the FY2021 H-1B Cap Season

Recruiters and managers should be prepared to answer questions about the new H-1B cap registration process. With this seemingly easier process, which initially requires only a $10 registration fee and minimal information, companies should consider the following:

  • One registration per beneficiary per company: Duplicate registrations are prohibited. If a company submits more than one registration per beneficiary, all registrations filed by that company for that beneficiary will be considered invalid.
  • Companies should not wait for selection results to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA): To avoid potential case processing delays due to Department of Labor system overload, the LCA should be filed as soon as possible.
  • Heavy demand expected, chances of being selected in H-1B lottery will likely be lower: Last fiscal year the USCIS received approximately 200,000 H-1B petitions for 85,000 available visa numbers. Under previous rules, employers had to prepare the entire petition and front over $3,000 in USCIS filing fees. The new H-1B registration and lottery process requires a $10 registration fee and minimal information, therefore making it easier to attempt to obtain an H-1B visa.

-- Consider filing an H-1B cap case for potential hires and current employees in other nonimmigrant visa status (e.g., Trade NAFTA (TN), L-1B), especially for those whose final nonimmigrant time in the United States maxes out in the next three years.

-- Determine whether other visa options exist for employees who need sponsorship.

  • H-1B cap-gap benefits attach upon filing of the H-1B cap petition: Cap gap does not attach upon filing the registration.
  • USCIS registration account: Work with counsel to create an account and establish who at the company controls and has access to the company’s account.

Registration / Lottery Overview

  • Initial registration period: March 1 – March 20, 2020.

-- $10 government registration fee. Case feasibility and preparation of LCA will entail legal fees.

  • USCIS to select registrants no later than March 31, 2020.

-- Random selection process on electronic registrations.

-- Selected? Employer has 90-day window to complete and file the H-1B petition on behalf of the beneficiary.

  • Considerations:

-- Oct. 1, 2020, is the earliest start date.

-- Beneficiary must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent by the time of filing the H-1B petition, not registration.

Information Required to Initiate an FY2021 H-1B Cap Case

  • Proposed job description, including minimum requirements.
  • Proposed work location (complete address).
  • Proposed salary.
  • Applicant’s CV and immigration documents.
  • Company information: legal name, EIN, company address, and authorized signatory’s name/title/contact info.