H-1B Visa Season Registration Starts March 2023
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the timeframe and parameters for the H-1B registration period. The registration is mandatory for eligible employers seeking H-1B employees for fiscal year 2024.
What is the H-1B registration period?
The registration window for FY2024 will be from March 1, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m. CT), until the same time on March 17, 2023.
Employers seeking to petition for cap-subject H-1B status for skilled workers must submit their registration during this timeframe, or their petitions will not be considered. Employers must register for every foreign worker they wish to sponsor and must name each individual worker, although all registrations by the same company may be done in one session.
How will registrations be selected?
If USCIS receives more registrations than the available number of visas, which is expected, at the end of the registration period the agency will randomly select registrations for further processing. Employers may file the actual H-1B petition only if selected by USCIS in the random selection process for a given employee. USCIS intends to notify those selected by March 31, 2023, with further instructions on the timeframe to submit the actual H-1B petition for consideration on the merits.
Employers/employees not selected in the H-1B lottery will not be eligible to submit petitions for consideration on the merits for the upcoming fiscal year unless they otherwise qualify for a cap-exempt H-1B.
Is H-1B right for you?
H1-B is a temporary visa classification used for individuals who seek employment in the U.S. in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. To qualify as a specialty occupation, the intended job must require at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, along with the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. Examples of specialty occupations include jobs in IT and computer science, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting law, theology, and the arts, among others.
In addition, an employer cannot use H-1B workers in a way that would negatively affect the wage or working conditions of U.S. workers employed in the same or a similar occupation. Therefore, an employer must pay the H-1B worker a wage that is at least equal to the prevailing wage rate established for that type of occupation in the applicable geographical area.
Timing of the H-1B petition
Under current law, there are 65,000 H-1B visas available each year to individuals holding a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available to individuals who obtained a Master’s or Ph.D. degree from a U.S. university.
In recent years, USCIS reached the H-1B cap within the first week after the filing period started each April, consistently receiving far in excess of the available number of visas (in FY2023, there were well over 400,000 registrations submitted in the lottery). Consequently, USCIS subjects the petitions it receives to a random, computer-generated selection process equivalent to a lottery. It is anticipated that this year will see the same trend.
Not all H-1B petitions are subject to the numerical cap
Individuals who already have H-1B status and who are seeking to extend or amend their existing status, or transfer to a new employer, are not counted against the cap unless they have already spent six years in H-1B status in the aggregate. In addition, H-1B petitions filed by an employer that is an institution of higher education, a nonprofit entity related or affiliated with an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization or government research organization, among others, are also generally not counted against the cap and do not have to go through the H-1B lottery.
If you are seeking H-1B clarification for the upcoming fiscal year, or if you have any other immigration-related question, contact Attorney Raluca (Luca) Vais-Ottosen at email@example.com or (608) 252-9291.