The H-1B cap is nearly here again. Though the economic situation is currently uncertain, expectations are high regarding the demand for the available H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2024. These visas will go to highly-skilled workers to accommodate the continued shortages of skilled workers in the US.
As a result, employers should anticipate high competition in acquiring job candidates. It is likely they will receive multiple offers for the H-1B season. The number of registrations for H-1B visas subjected to the cap is virtually always more significant than the number available. The upcoming fiscal year will likely be the same.
Employers preparing to register will find that most of the rules during the FY 2023 season will remain in place for FY 2024. Previously, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would propose a rule to modernize requirements and oversight for the H-1B program. However, its current regulatory agenda shows that publishing such a regulation is targeted for May 2023. Given that the regulatory process generally proceeds over several months, it is unlikely that any changes will take effect during the FY 2024 cap season.
Furthermore, a proposed rule that would have significantly changed the H-1B process will not take effect. Had it received approval, it would have replaced the random lottery with a system that favored higher wages. The courts overturned this rule and ultimately removed it from the Federal Register.
Petitioners will proceed through the process as expected, which means submitting an electronic registration for each H-1B candidate. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not announced the registration period for FY 2024. However, based on the previous H-1B cap seasons, it will likely open in March 2023.
Following the registration period, if the USCIS receives more registrations than visas available, it will conduct a random lottery. Through the lottery, the USCIS will issue 85,000 visas, 20,000 of which will go to advanced degree holders. In addition, selected Petitioners will be allowed to file a petition during the 90-day period starting April first.
Employers should start early to gather the necessary documentation far before the electronic registration deadline. However, completing and gathering the documentation can prove challenging, such as filling out the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) paperwork.
Form I-9 often gives employers and employees trouble because of how many documents can be involved in the verification process. One of the best means to ensure uniform completion and accuracy is with an electronic Form I-9 management tool. This tool can guide employers through the process step-by-step and provide secure and convenient storage of forms and documentation.
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