“These simple and smart changes are a positive benefit for employers, the foreign workers they seek to employ, and the agency’s adjudicators, helping the H-1B visa programme work better,” said USCIS Director Francis Cissna. Early this month, President Donald Trump said that he wants to bring in changes in the H-1B visa systems so that holders of these visas can stay in the country and accelerate their path to citizenship.
The H-1B visa, popular among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The new registration system, once implemented, will lower overall costs for employers and increase government efficiency, he said.
Cissna said USCIS is also furthering Donald Trump’s goal of improving the immigration system by making a simple adjustment to the H-1B cap selection process. “As a result, US employers seeking to employ foreign workers with a US master’s or higher degree will have a greater chance of selection in the H-1B lottery in years of excess demand for new H-1B visas,” Cissna said
Effective from April 1, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions (or registrations, once the registration requirement is implemented submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemon. Thereafter USCIS will select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemon.
Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a US institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations, a media statement said. Specifically, the change will result in an estimated increase of up to 16 per cent (or 5,340 workers in the number of selected petitions for H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a US institution of higher education.
USCIS will begin acceng H-1B cap petitions for fiscal 2020 on April 1, 2019. The reverse selection order will apply to petitions filed for the FY 2020 H-1B cap season. Based on the feedback, USCIS said it has decided to suspend the electronic registration requirement for the fiscal 2020 cap season to complete user testing and ensure the system and process are fully functional.
Once implemented, the electronic registration requirement will require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemon, to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period.
Only those whose registrations are selected will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition. USCIS expects that the electronic registration requirement, once implemented, will reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process for USCIS and petitioners, according to an official statement.