The law firm of Latimer LeVay Fyock would like to inform the public about the federal government’s dramatic changes to the H-1B process. Registration for the 2021 H1-B cap began on March 1st, 2020 and closes on March 20th, 2020.
Previously, the USCIS would select filed petitions through a random lottery process. Those selected in the lottery would then proceed to have their petitions adjudicated by USCIS. Until this year, sponsoring employers needed to complete and submit a Form I-129 Petition along with supplemental and supporting documents for each applicant.
The USCIS has modified this process for the 2021 fiscal year. Moving forward, there is a simple electronic registration process and small payment required for each applicant. While this process is dramatically easier, the window for registering for the lottery is short.
The deadline for lottery participation closes on March 20, 2020. Still, easing the process is an encouragement to employers to enter more qualified employees in the H1-B lottery. After the registration period closes on March 20, USCIS will conduct the H1-B lottery and the results will be announced by March 31, 2020.
Once notified, the employer will then have 90 days from the date of selection to prepare and file a full H1-B petition with the appropriate fees and supporting documents.
Another significant change to the lottery process is the order in which the USCIS will conduct the lottery. This year USCIS will conduct the lotteries in reverse order, with the regular cap lottery preceding the U.S. master’s lottery. This means that U.S. master’s holders can participate, and be selected, in the first-round regular lottery.
USCIS will then automatically enter all unselected U.S. master’s registrants from the regular cap lottery into the U.S. master’s lottery, the second round, giving them another chance at being selected. This should cause the selection chances of a registrant with a U.S. master’s or higher degree to significantly increase.
The H1-B lottery participation deadline is quickly approaching. Companies that have a workforce that includes highly skilled and specialized employees, who require H1-B visas, must act now.
For questions about the new lottery and/or registration process or assistance with registration or petition, please contact Latimer LeVay Fyock today.