The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released its Fall 2018 Regulatory Agenda. One item on the agenda dealt with the “Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap Subject Aliens.” The item stated that USCIS proposes to establish an electronic registration program for H-1B petitions filed under the H-1B cap that opens every April.
The question: will it be in place for the cap season in April 2019?
While the language of the proposed regulation has not been made public, it is anticipated that the regulatory item will require H-1B petitioners (the employer) to pre-register for a filing for an individual under the cap, before the cap opens in April. The USCIS would then run a lottery, if necessary, to determine which petitioners would be able to file an H-1B petition under the H-1B cap. Only those petitioners selected in the lottery would be able to file a petition.
USCIS is hoping that this process will help it to more efficiently manage the intake and selection process for H-1B petitions and help employers avoid the time and expense of filing a case that will not be selected under the lottery.
It is not clear when the regulation will be published, let alone take effect. USCIS recently stated that it is actively working on the regulation and hopes to get it published soon for review and comment. It is possible the regulation could take effect and be implemented before the H-1B cap opens in April 2019. However, a lot will have to happen quickly for that to occur.
We will continue to monitor this situation and will update you on any important developments. In the meantime, if you are thinking of filing cases under the H-1B cap this April, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss.