USCIS director discusses upcoming H-1B registration system, other changes

6 Nov 19

UNITED STATES

Acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli discussed the expected rollout of the new H-1B registration system, processing delays, upcoming changes to E-Verify, and other topics at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Global Mobility and Immigration Symposium in Washington, D.C. this week.

Key points:

  • H-1B registration. Regarding the timing of the H-1B electronic registration system, Cuccinelli said while he is confident that the system will be ready for the upcoming cap season, the agency will decide by the end of the calendar year whether it will introduce the new system for the upcoming cap season beginning in early 2020. “The only remaining issue is system testing to make sure that we can handle the anticipated load,” he said.
  • Registration fee. Cuccinelli confirmed a final regulation that will require H-1B petitioners to pay a $10 fee for each prospective H-1B candidate will be issued in the coming days.
  • Processing delays. The agency plans to allow online filing of nearly all USCIS forms by the end of 2020, which Cuccinelli said would speed processing and reduce requests for evidence by enabling applicants to correct filing errors more quickly.
  • E-Verify changes. The agency plans to revamp the E-Verify system by shifting more responsibility to prospective employees and allowing them to access the system to enter data and respond to tentative non-confirmations themselves.

Background: In recent months, USCIS has taken steps to implement the H-1B electronic registration system, and has stated its intention to introduce the system in the upcoming cap season, “subject to continued testing of the system.” The American Immigration Lawyers Association recently expressed concerns about the timing of the implementation and asked the agency to complete testing by Nov. 1 to give companies enough time to prepare.

Under the new system, all petitioners must submit an online form for each prospective H-1B employee during a designated period before April 1. USCIS will conduct a lottery to select registrations among the pool, and only successful petitioners will then file full H-1B petitions on behalf of each selected H-1B candidate.

BAL Analysis: Employers are encouraged to begin planning for cap season with the expectation that the H-1B registration system will be in place in early 2020. According to Cuccinelli’s comments, the agency will announce by the end of next month whether it will introduce the H-1B registration system for the upcoming cap season. BAL is closely monitoring developments with the H-1B registration and will report updates to the implementation timeline when information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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