In 2020, USCIS launched a Pre-Registration program to allow employers to participate in the H-1B lottery without filing expensive complete H-1B petitions. We learned some important lessons from the USCIS’ rookie Pre-Registration season.
What we learned:
• Pre-Registration requires tight coordination between employers and attorneys to navigate USCIS’ cumbersome registration system
• Wage and occupation analysis early in the Pre-Registration process is critical
• Employers need attorney assistance with the “simple” registration process, now more than ever, to avoid disqualification through errors in the registration process
Starting on the first day of the federal fiscal year – October 1st – only 85,000 new H-1B visas will be available. 20,000 of these are set aside for Masters [and higher] graduates of U.S. non-profit universities.
In the past, an entire Visa Petition needed to be filed in the first week of April, after which Candidates were selected in a luck-based lottery. This year, the lottery will be conducted FIRST from a list of Pre-Registrants. Only those Pre-Registered Candidates selected by USCIS may then have their Employer/Petitioner file a Visa Petition over the following 3 months.
Current Uncertainty with Lottery Process
The Trump Administration finalized new rules ranking submissions for the Pre-Registration Lottery based on wage levels. These rules will become effective 3/10/2021 unless they are delayed by the Biden Administration. Stay tuned for updates as they become known.
E&M Mayock is prepared to meet either lottery system. Our Pre-Registration Program includes a Wage and Occupation Analysis that will provide employers with data to assess the likelihood of selection in the lottery.
Now is the Time to Get Ready!
Get ready for H-1B Cap Season 2021! All 2021 H-1B Cap cases must complete a Pre-Registration process for inclusion in the 2021 H-1B Cap Lottery. Please complete the H-1B Inquiry form directly beneath this post to provide basic information needed to begin the process to Pre-Register for the H-1B Cap Lottery.
Today’s H-1B program does NOT require a showing of shortage of American workers.
It is expected that in early March, USCIS Citizenship & Immigration Services will begin accepting H-1B visa pre-registrations. During this initial registration period, prospective petitioners or their authorized representatives must electronically submit a separate registration naming each foreign national for whom they seek to file an H-1B cap-subject petition.
Under current regulations, USCIS will conduct a random, luck-based lottery of all applications submitted in the pre-registration period to select the petitions that will be permitted to submit full H-1B applications on April 1, 2021.
The annual quota of 85,000 new H-1B visas includes 20,000 set aside for foreign workers who have completed a Masters degree at a U.S. non-profit university.
Last year, participation in the lottery was even more competitive than previous years given the simplicity of participating in the pre-registration process. 274,273 pre-registrations were submitted in 2020. In years when full filings were required to participate in the lottery, the quota was exhausted by the end of the 5-day filing window: 201,011 petitions were filed in 2019, 190,000 in 2018 and 198,000 in 2017.
E&M Mayock’s H-1B Pre-Registration Program
E&M Mayock has now begun accepting H-1B Cap Pre-Registration cases for filing March 1-20. Our Program has been fine-tuned, based on lessons learned in 2020, to successfully negotiate the Pre-Registration system and be prepared for swift filing of a strong H-1B petition.
• Employers and H-1B Cap Prospect Employees will fill out basic online questionnaires to provide the information required for H-1B Cap Pre-Registration.
• Attorney will review basic H-1B qualification including reviewing educational credentials, company qualifications, employer / employee relationship and qualifying H-1B specialty occupation position.
• Initial Attorney Consultation will be scheduled, if required, based on the attorney review.
• Wage and Occupation Analysis.
• Preparation and filing of LCA.
• Assistance with submission of Pre-Registration.
• Tracking of Pre-Registration results.
Full Petition Preparation:
Once selected in the H-1B lottery, additional Legal Fees ($3,500 + Required Government Filing Fees) will be required to prepare and file a full H-1B petition.
Getting Started – Online Questionnaires
To get started with Pre-Registration, please to complete the H-1B Inquiry form directly beneath this post.
If you have any questions, please contact us immediately at 415.765.5111 or H1B@emvisa.com. Thank you! We look forward to working with you to achieve your visa goals.
The H-1B visa is for workers in specialty occupations, such as: Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical sciences, Social sciences, Medicine and health, Education, Business specialties, Accounting, Law, Theology, or The Arts.
H-1B visas are available only to workers in occupations requiring highly specialized knowledge, normally acquired through a college education, and to distinguished fashion models. Although this myriad of specialty occupations mentioned above exist to qualify under H-1B qualifications, there are some requirements to successfully obtain your visa:
- You must be coming to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation and have a college degree (or its equivalent in experience, typically a minimum of twelve years in that specialty field), or be a distinguished fashion model.
- You must first have a job offer from a U.S. employer that agrees to sponsor you.
The employer must then file an “attestation” with the U.S. Department of Labor that certifies that they will pay the average or “prevailing wage” for the specific type of job in that area (or the actual wage paid to similar workers at that employer, depending on which is the higher of the two).
It is essential also that you have the correct background for the job you are offered. Therefore, if your academic and professional credentials are strong, yet do not match the job, you are not eligible for an H-1B visa in that specific specialty occupation.
The job you are entering must also meet one of the following criteria:
- A bachelor’s degree of higher degree (or equivalent) is the minimum requirement for entry into the position;
- The degree requirement is common to the industry, or the duties of the position are so complex that it can be performed only by a person with a degree;
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
- The specific duties are so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with a bachelor’s degree.
Successful H-1B applicants may initially stay in the U.S. for up to three years, and may opt to extend their status for another three years, for a maximum stay of six years.