The H-1B visa classification is a U.S. employer’s go-to when employing foreign nationals to work in specialty occupations in the United States. Each year, employers dash to find highly skilled workers and race to file registrations on the prospective employee’s behalf in the hope of receiving the “opportunity” to “apply” to sponsor their chosen employee. The annual demand for highly skilled workers far exceeds the supply of available H-1B visas. Out of the 85,000 coveted visas available annually, 65,000 are open to prospective employees who hold the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree or higher. An additional 20,000 are reserved for prospective employees with advanced degrees from a U.S.-based institution.
Beginning Feb. 21, employers and their representatives may create “new registrant” accounts using the MyUSCIS online portal. Then, starting March 1 at noon (EST), employers / representatives may submit their online registrations on behalf of their prospective employees and pay the associated $10 registration fee. USCIS will assign a confirmation number to each registration submitted. The registration period closes on March 17.
The race isn’t given to the swift but to those who properly register in March. Employers sprinting to submit their registrations must exercise care. The selection isn’t given to those who swiftly file, but rather to those who properly register their prospective employees. Common employer errors that result in a technical disqualification of an otherwise timely filed registration are (1) creating the wrong type of account and (2) submitting multiple registrations for the same prospective employee. Employers must submit one registration for each of their prospective employees. That rule, however, does not prohibit the prospective employee from having multiple registrations submitted by different employers. Once the registration period closes, USCIS will remove the disqualified registrations, make its random selection from the properly submitted registrations, and around March 31, invite the selected registrants to file an H-1B petition on behalf of the person named on the selected registration.
One final point: The H-1B visa is a great way to recruit and retain talented foreign nationals to serve in specialized areas like accounting, architecture, engineering, education, health care, mathematics, science, technology, and so much more! For more information, contact your experienced Labor & Employment–Immigration Counsel to explore whether the H-1B visa is right for your business.