U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has finally announced the dates for the H-1B visa initial registration period. Employers will have from March 1st to March 18th, 2022, to complete their registrations for one of the coveted employment visas.
Under the H-1B visa program, employers in the U.S. are permitted to temporarily employ foreign national workers for positions requiring specialized skills. Typically this means a specialized occupation requiring at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at a minimum.
In its recent announcement, the USCIS has stated that “prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using our online H-1B registration system.” Petitioners, as in the last few years, will have no other option but to register electronically for occupations that are subject to the cap.
For every registration that is submitted, the USCIS will issue a confirmation number that will be used for tracking registrations. However, this confirmation number will not be able to be used for tracking the status of a case online.
The USCIS also reminded employers looking to make H-1B cap-subject petitions as well, as any authorized representatives will need to pay the mandatory $10 registration fee for every beneficiary they register through their USCIS online account.
For all employers looking to file their own registrations, these prospective petitioners must create a ‘registrant’ account which they may begin to do starting from noon of Feb. 21st, 2022. The date for account creation will be the same for employers and their agents, who are collectively referred to as “registrants.”
Once the March 18th deadline has arrived and the USCIS has received a suitable number of registrations, two random selections or “lotteries” will be performed, choosing certain registrations to continue. The first lottery will include all candidates for an H-1B visa and will select enough candidates to satisfy the regular H-1B CAP of 65,000. The second lottery will be to meet the number of registrations needed to meet the H-1B CAP exemption for holders of advanced U.S. degrees, which is 20,000.
The USCIS is expected to provide notice of the results to registrants as well as their designated counsel by March 31st, 2022. For every registration, the USCIS will send the employer’s authorized signatory and counsel an email indicating whether any given policing was selected under the regular CAP as well as the advanced degree CAP.
With the deadlines for registration fast approaching, employers looking to hire workers under the H-1B program should begin the process now. However, it is important to remember that these workers come with a considerable amount of paperwork that must be completed. This includes Form I-9, which can quickly become complex for hiring personnel. The best way to handle this is with an electronic I-9 management tool which can help to guide users every step of the way and ensure documentation is stored appropriately.
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