The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds all interested parties that the filing period for the second H-1B cap selection will soon end. This reminder comes as the USCIS continues adjudicating H-1B petitions. Employers should act quickly if the USCIS has selected their foreign nationals in the second fiscal year 2024’s H-1B cap lottery. They must file all petitions before the closing period.
The filing period for the first round of selections ended on June 30, 2023, and the second H-1B lottery ended on July 31, 2023. The filing period for fiscal year 2024’s second H-1B cap season began on August 2 and will close on October 31. Lottery selections are only valid through the filing window.
The USCIS will consider only the cap-subject petitions filed on time. This end date for the filing period will determine whether the USCIS runs a third H-1B cap lottery. Currently, the USCIS sees a high chance of needing to run a third lottery. However, the agency will wait to review the number of petitions correctly and genuinely filed before deciding.
The USCIS has already decided how to run the third round of lottery selections: It will randomly choose from the reserve registrations that went unselected in the first two rounds. Whether the USCIS will need that third round remains uncertain, but it would not be the first time it happened in a fiscal year.
In fiscal year 2021, the USCIS conducted two rounds of lottery selection to reach the cap of 85,000 visas. The following fiscal year, the agency performed three to meet the same quota. The fiscal year 2023 needed only one round of selections, and fiscal year 2024 has proven it may repeat 2022. However, this year has revealed several unique circumstances.
During the fiscal year 2024 cap season, the USCIS witnessed a dramatic increase in received registrations. The USCIS also noted how many of these filed registrations repeatedly benefited the same beneficiaries. This realization resulted in suspicions of fraud. As such, the USCIS investigated the petitions and issued criminal referrals.
Employers must remember these dates to ensure they file on time and comply with regulations. One critical regulation they must focus on is the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. This process has proven challenging for many employers, especially those hiring temporary or foreign national workers.
A best practice to maintain compliance is incorporating an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can guide personnel through the process. It also offers secure digital storage, reminders of when to take action, and can integrate with E-Verify for employers utilizing the government website.
When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.