H-1B Cap Registrations Top 300K

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 16, 2021
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USCIS office

​Employers in the U.S. submitted H-1B cap registrations for 308,613 workers for fiscal year 2022, a 12 percent increase over last year's filing season, which was the first time a new electronic prefiling registration system was implemented.

"The electronic registration process for H-1Bs was intended to make the H-1B lottery more streamlined and efficient," said Tahmina Watson, an immigration attorney and owner of Seattle-based Watson Immigration Law, "and the relative ease of the process compared to the previous time-consuming and expensive filing season seems to have made more employers more willing to potentially employ H-1B workers." 

We've rounded up articles and resources on the news.

Selection Rate Drops

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selected 87,500 registrations this year to meet the H-1B quota—just 28 percent of the 308,613 workers registered. During the fiscal year 2021 season, USCIS received 274,237 H-1B registrations and ultimately selected 45 percent of those registered.

(USCIS)

Electronic Registration Draws Praise

The electronic registration process for filing for H-1B cap-subject visas has been well-received by users, who gave it high marks this year (4.87 out of 5). The new system requires employers to submit online registrations to be selected for the H-1B lottery. The registrations ask for minimal information for each visa requested. If selected from the registration pool, employers can then file H-1B cap-subject petitions as they did in the past. The electronic registration process has streamlined processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange, because only those randomly selected from the registration pool will be eligible to file petitions.

(SHRM Online)

Petitions Down in 2020

The dramatic changes to the U.S. economy between March 1, 2020—when employers entered the H-1B lottery—and one month later, when they were notified that their applicants were selected for visas, left many uncertain of their next move. By the time employers were notified of the lottery's results on April 1, 2020, the U.S. economy was devastated, as businesses were shuttered to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Consequently, for the first time in years, the number of petitions eventually filed did not meet the annual cap of 85,000.

(SHRM Online)

Visa Lottery's Future Still Uncertain

USCIS announced in February that the Trump administration's final rule replacing the annual H-1B visa lottery with a salary-based selection system will be delayed until Dec. 31. 

The Biden administration said it would review the rule. President Joe Biden expressed support for the concept of salary-based H-1B visa allocation during the 2020 election campaign.

(SHRM Online)

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