The Department of Homeland Security has published an advanced copy of the final rule that will amend the way the H-1B visa program will be run in the future. The official version of the final rule is set to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow January 31, 2019, and become effective April 1, 2019, the beginning of the H-1B cap visa season for fiscal year 2020.
Beginning with the upcoming FY 2020 H-1B cap season, which kicks off on April 1, 2019, USCIS will reverse the order by which it selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will first select H-1B petitions (or registrations, once the registration requirement is implemented) submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption.
According to USCIS, “Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations.”
USCIS estimates that this change will result in an increase of up to 16% in the number of H-1B petitions selected for individuals filing under the advanced degree exemption (U.S. master’s or higher).
The mandatory electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petition has been suspended for the upcoming H-1B visa fiscal year 2020 to ensure that the system is fully functional.
Once implemented, the electronic registration requirement will require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period.
Only those whose registrations are selected will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition.
USCIS will publish a notice in the Federal Register to announce the initial implementation of the H-1B registration process in advance of the cap season in which it will implement the requirement. USCIS will announce the designated electronic registration period at least 30 days in advance for each fiscal year it is required.
For now, you can rest easy knowing the registration requirement will be implemented at a future date.
To read the advance copy please click here.