• United States: USCIS to Propose H-1B Pre-Registration System
  • October 1, 2010
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of a proposed rule that would require employers to pre-register before filing an H-1B cap petition. Details of the proposal are confidential and will not be disclosed until the proposed rule is published for public comment in the Federal Register. The proposed system would not be put into place until a final version of the regulation is approved by OMB and published ¿ a process that can take several months or more.

    Though few specific details are known about the system, it is being proposed to streamline the sometimes chaotic H-1B cap filing process by asking employers to register online and be awarded a cap number before submitting a full cap petition with supporting documentation. USCIS anticipates also using the system for other petitions that are subject to annual caps. Earlier this year, the USCIS Ombudsman reported that USCIS had begun developing the system and planned to have it approved and in place by Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. The idea of a pre-registration system was first raised in earnest after the FY 2009 filing season, when the agency received roughly 163,000 petitions against the standard cap of 65,000 and the advanced degree exemption of 20,000. The huge volume of filings caused administrative problems at agency service centers and delays in running the H-1B cap lottery.

    Fragomen is closely following the proposal through the regulatory process and will issue further updates as developments occur.

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