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Time to Start Planning for H-1B Cap Season

It is time to start preparing for the upcoming H-1B visa lottery, which begins April 1, 2020, and will be the first one to require an electronic registration for each case.

To be eligible to file a cap-subject H-1B petition, companies must first electronically register for each case. The initial registration period will run from March 1, 2020, to March 20, 2020. The fee for registration will be $10 per beneficiary. (For other details, see our article, USCIS Announces Implementation of H-1B Electronic Registration for FY 2021 Cap Season.) Through that process, USCIS will randomly select enough lottery entries to result in the 85,000 cases that may be approved under the cap, accounting for predicted denial rates. Cases selected in the lottery may be filed as full petitions for H-1B status that will become effective on October 1, 2020.

The 85,000 limit includes 65,000 “regular” H-1B grants and an additional 20,000 for individuals with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. college or university.

In recent years, approximately one in three applications have been selected in the lottery. To prepare, employers should review their hiring needs, as well as the immigration status of any employees who are foreign nationals working as students on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)/STEM OPT, F-1 CPT, or in any other short-term nonimmigrant status, whom they may wish to retain. Employers also may want to consider individuals who were not selected in previous H-1B lotteries, previous J-1 trainees, TN, or other free-trade visa employees, or L-1 employees facing long green card delays.

The government believes that the new USCIS registration will be more efficient. Because this is USCIS’s first year using the new process, there may be unexpected issues or delays. Employers should evaluate their circumstances and gather information early enough to prepare for any eventuality.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020

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About this Author

Michael H. Neifach, Jackson Lewis, Employment visa Lawyer, border security matters attorney
Principal

Michael Neifach is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is a recognized leader on immigration, visa and border security matters, and he is Co-Leader of the firm's Immigration practice group.

Mr. Neifach has held senior positions at the White House Homeland Security Council, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He served as General Counsel at ICE from July 2007 through January 2009. Following his government service, Mr. Neifach oversaw...

(703) 483-8300
Amy L. Peck, Immigration Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Worksite Compliance Lawyer
Principal

Amy L. Peck is a Principal in the Omaha, Nebraska, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She dedicates her practice exclusively to immigration law and worksite compliance, and she is Co-Leader of the firm's Immigration practice group.

Ms. Peck is one of 21 Directors elected to serve on the 14,000-member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Board of Governors. She currently is serving on the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council.

Ms. Peck is a member of the AILA National Verification Committee, which liaises with USCIS, ICE and OCAHO on I-9, E-verify and related worksite issues. Ms. Peck recently served on the AILA National USCIS Benefits Committee, the Interagency Committee, the Annual Conference Committee, previously chaired the AILA FOIA Liaison Committee, the AILA Comprehensive Reform Committee (2010-2011) and is a founding member of the Global Migration Action Group (2009 to present). She served as Chair of the AILA National Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) liaison committee (2008-2010). Ms. Peck also served as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for AILA (2008-2009) and served on the Spring Conference committee (2008-2010). She was chosen as the editor of the AILA Midyear Conference materials in 2010, and past Chair of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) liaison committee (2004-2006). She is past Chair of the AILA Iowa-Nebraska chapter (2001-2003), and previously served as its treasurer (1999-2000).

(402) 391-1991
Brian Schield, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Los Angeles, Business Immigration Attorney
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Brian E. Schield is a Principal in the Los Angeles, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has more than 25 years of experience in business-related immigration matters.

Mr. Schield works with clients ranging from large international companies and organizations to individuals and families, with a particular focus on Europe and the Pacific Rim. His immigration work has involved executives, managers, financial personnel, students, research scientists, engineers and other technical and professional occupations, doctors,...

213-689-0404