February 1, 2022Client Alert

H-1B Registration Window Opens March 1, 2022

United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that new, cap-subject H-1B registrations may be submitted from noon EST on March 1, 2022, through noon EST on March 18, 2022. This is the only time during the year that cap-subject employers can apply for a new H-1B classification for an employee that does not currently have one. We expect the demand for H-1B visas to remain high this year due to numerous factors, including staffing challenges across industries.

This is the third year that USCIS is utilizing the electronic “registration” process for H-1B petitioners. Under this system, employers who would like to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the fiscal year 2023 cap (a start date of October 1, 2022) must first electronically register and pay a $10 H-1B registration fee. This initial registration requires basic information about the company and each requested worker. A random selection process will then take place, and petitioners will be notified if they have been selected to file new H-1B petitions. USCIS expects to notify selected registrations by March 31, 2022.

The number of available new H-1B petitions is capped at 65,000 per fiscal year (“regular cap”), with an additional 20,000 slots available to foreign nationals holding advanced degrees (master’s degrees or higher) from U.S. institutions. For the last several years, USCIS received significantly more petitions than this cap, resulting in a lottery. To ensure that H-1B beneficiaries are included within the random selection process, we recommend that employers make hiring decisions for foreign national workers and job applicants as soon as possible. Employees in F-1 (student) status may need new H-1B petitions filed on their behalf in order to transition to H-1B employment and avoid gaps in employment authorization. We also recommend H-1B status for employees in E-2, O-1, or TN status who want to pursue permanent residence status in the United States.

The H-1B cap applies to employees who have never been counted against the cap. Most individuals who currently hold H-1B status, whether with you or another employer, need not worry about the annual H-1B cap. The H-1B cap also does not apply to employees of (i) colleges and universities; (ii) nonprofit organizations related to or affiliated with a nonprofit college or university; or (iii) nonprofit or governmental research organizations.

Please notify us of any employees who may need new H-1Bs as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for registration filings.

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