H-1B Registration - A Look Back at an Administrative Nightmare

H-1B Registration – A Look Back at an Administrative Nightmare

On April 1, 2020, USCIS announced the opening of the 90 day window for filing H-1B cap petitions.  Registrants selected in the Pre-Registration lottery may now file full petitions.

This announcement was met with discouragement by many immigration attorneys whose registrations were erroneously denied as “duplicate” registrations.   Forbes reports that hundreds of registrations are in “denied” status after completion of the lottery with no remedy in sight.  Attorneys are reporting these erroneous denials to the USCIS Ombudsman Office but no response has been received from USCIS.

USCIS declares registration a great success while whistling in the wind

Meanwhile, USCIS proudly declared the registration process a great success stating, “The H-1B electronic registration process was well-received by users, who provided a high satisfaction score with the system. Nearly 275,000 unique registrations were submitted during the initial registration period. “

Immigration attorneys and their employer clients beg to differ.  Every phase of the registration process was a logistic nightmare for attorneys and their clients.  I personally attended four separate trainings before the launch of the Registration Portal.  I was as prepared as a person could be for this new program.

Of all the myriad problems that came up during the account creation and registration process, two problems were the most difficult to deal with.

Poor communication between employer and attorney accounts

Attorneys could not “see” what employers were doing when they created their H-1B Registrant Accounts.  There were no auto e-mails that transmitted vital information from employers to attorneys or vice versa.  This meant that basic data often didn’t “match” between the attorney and employer accounts.  When this happened, the accounts did not connect.  Employers had to recreate accounts with multiple unique e-mails to allow the registration system to work.  Attorneys had to recreate registrations.  What a waste of time!!!

Inability to edit registrations once sent to employers

USCIS promised that data could be revised and updated before the registration was submitted.  Unfortunately, the system was actually implemented in a way that did not allow editing after the registration was sent to the employer.  This meant that basic information that needed to be corrected so all the data “matched” could only be edited by deleting the registration.  Every recreation meant that the employer had to access the account and accept the new registration.  Again, what a waste of time!!!

USCIS also promised that registrations could be deleted and resubmitted without being considered “duplicate” registrations.  As noted above, USCIS denied hundreds of “duplicates” that were not, in fact, duplicates.  They were resubmission of previously deleted registrations.

Really, this is what a year of tech development produced?

USCIS spent a year developing a system that was designed to record 15 pieces of the most basic H-1B information imaginable.  USCIS muffed this badly.  The number of e-mails and phone calls required to create the accounts and submit these 15 basic bits of info made for a process that was egregiously cumbersome.

Given the fact that there are now hundreds of registrations that were erroneously denied, the registration process was by no means “well received” with “high satisfaction.”

USCIS must roll out a remedy for the erroneous denials and come up with a better plan for next year.