U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the registration period for H-1B cap-subject visas will be open from March 9, 2021, to March 25, 2021. USCIS intends to notify selected registrants by March 31, 2021. Selected registrants can file their H-1B cap-subject petitions as early as April 1, 2021. USCIS also announced that it will continue to use a random selection process for this year’s H-1B lottery and not the selection based on wage-level as previously proposed.
H-1B visas allow highly skilled foreign workers to temporarily work in the United States. The worker must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Under the current H-1B system, 85,000 visas may be issued per fiscal year – 65,000 “H-1B regular cap” visas and 20,000 “master’s exemption” visas (professionals who graduate with a master’s degree or doctorate from a U.S. university). However, the number of petitions filed over the past several years have vastly outnumbered the 85,000 cap. In the last government fiscal year, for example, approximately 275,000 H-1B cap-subject registrations were filed.
H-1B Cap Selection Process
On January 8, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule that replaces the current random selection process by which USCIS selects H-1B registrations for filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions. The new process would select registrations based on the highest prevailing wage level and offered wage for the Department of Labor (DOL) job classification and location(s) of intended employment. The rule was scheduled to take effect on March 9, 2021.
However, on February 4, 2021, the DHS posted a final rule for public inspection delaying the effective date of the wage-based selection system for H-1B cap-subject petitions until December 31, 2021, due to inadequate time to complete system development, thoroughly test the modifications, train staff, and conduct public outreach. For this reason, the random selection process used by USCIS for the FY2021 cap season will remain in effect for the FY2022 cap season.
With less than 3 weeks until the registration opens, there is no time to waste. If you need assistance with the H-1B process, please contact us immediately.