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H-1B Lottery Registration Opens March 1 H-1B Lottery Registration Opens March 1

H-1B Lottery Registration Opens March 1

Employers who have sponsored H-1B workers in prior years are accustomed to the critical April 1 date, which represents the first allowable filing date for new, cap-subject H-1B petitions. But this year, employers are preparing for a new March 1 deadline as well. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will open its much-anticipated H-1B electronic registration system on that date, and each prospective H-1B employee must be registered in the new system between March 1 and March 20. We highlighted this new process earlier this year, but USCIS has now released more information and guidance on precisely how this new electronic registration process will work.
 
The H-1B visa classification is widely utilized by U.S. companies to sponsor foreign professionals in a wide variety of industries and specialty occupations, and it is often the only available option for temporary employment in the U.S. The visa is subject to an annual limit each fiscal year, however, and because more petitions are usually filed than there are H-1B visas available, USCIS conducts a lottery to select petitions for processing. 
 
The annual limit and lottery selection process is not changing this year, but the lottery entry process is. Specifically, employers must register electronically with USCIS in March, and random selection will be made from those registrations. Only those employers whose registration(s) are selected will then be eligible to file complete H-1B petition(s) on behalf of the prospective employee with USCIS beginning April 1. Employers will have 90 days from the date of selection notification to file, and those H-1B petitions filed with USCIS will be subject to the same substantive requirements that have applied in prior years. 
 
The electronic registration period will open March 1, 2020 at 12PM ET. It will close March 20, 2020 at 12PM ET. All employers seeking to sponsor cap-subject beneficiaries and their attorneys must create online accounts in order to submit registrations. Attorneys can begin preparing H-1B registrations when the window opens and must then provide access to employers to review and approve the registrations. Attorneys may then pay the required fees and submit the registrations.
 
USCIS intends to complete the lottery as early as March 21, and employers/attorneys of record will be notified of selection through the online system. Cases not selected initially will remain eligible for future selection if enough H-1B petitions are not received and approved to meet the annual limit. 
 
USCIS has made clear that barring technical issues preventing the submission of electronic registrations, there will be no other filing option. As such, the new March deadlines are critical to employers pursuing H-1B sponsorship this year. 
 
Please contact Christl Glier, Jenifer Brown, or another member of the Ice Miller Immigration Practice to discuss your H-1B sponsorship or any other immigration needs.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.




 
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