USCIS Proposes H-1B Employer Registration Program

By Attorney Michele Strickland

On October 17, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and Regulatory plan, which provides the public with an overview of changes they would like to make.

One DHS proposed regulation, entitled “Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap Subject Aliens” (commonly known as the H-1B registration regulation) is featured in the Fall 2018 Unified Agenda. Most first time H-1B petitions are subject to an annual cap (55,000 new H-1Bs plus 20,000 for beneficiaries with U.S. Master’s degrees).  DHS proposes to establish an electronic registration program for all employers planning to file petitions subject to the annual H-1B cap.  It would require employers to register electronically prior to filing petitions.  The intent is to allow USCIS to more efficiently manage the intake and selection process for these H-1B petitions.

Although the Fall 2018 Unified Agenda indicates an October time frame for publication of this proposed rule, the rule has not yet been published. The rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in October 2018, and is currently pending review.  Once OMB completes its review, a notice of proposed rule making will be published in the Federal Register and will be open to the public for notice and comment.

On November 16, 2018, USCIS Director Francis Cissna indicated that DHS is actively working on the regulation with the aim of finalizing it by April 1, 2019, in time for the opening of the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020) H-1B cap filing season.

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