H-1B Cap Season
USCIS has confirmed they will open the new H-1B Lottery pre-registration portal on March 1, 2020. The H-1B visa is available to companies wishing to hire a foreign worker to fill a “specialty occupation” which is defined as a position that requires “(a) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and (b) attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.”
The pre-registration portal will close on March 20, after which the regulatory allotment of 65,000 H-1B petitions and 20,000 advanced degree exceptions cases will be selected via lottery for processing. Applicants selected will then be notified of the 90 day filing window to submit the full H-1B petition.
While the pre-registration process will simplify some of the front-end paperwork required to submit an H-1B cap case, we encourage employers to start now identifying the employees who need H-1B sponsorship to allow for proper vetting of H-1B applicants and positions prior to submission in the pre-registration portal.
Suggestions for Employers
Review hiring needs and current employment rosters to identify those employees who will need H-1B work authorization for continued employment.
Identify employees who are currently employed on F-1 OPT or CPT authorization, or other classification (such as L-1, TN, H-4 EAD) and determine if the company intends to employ them beyond the current work authorization expiration.
Determine anticipated job titles, job duties, work location and rate of pay.
Notify your immigration attorney with the list of employees the company wishes to sponsor for evaluation of qualifications for H-1B status.