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DHS Announces Upcoming H-1B Lottery Season & Delays Effective Date of the H-1B Selection Final Rule

Last week, USCIS announced that the H-1B cap registration process for the upcoming H-1B lottery season will open on March 9, 2021 and will close on March 25, 2021. USCIS will notify selected registrants by March 31, 2021 that they have been selected and petitions may be filed for the selected beneficiaries between April 1 and June 30, 2021. Approved petitions will have an H-1B employment start date of October 1, 2021, which marks the beginning of the 2022 fiscal year. 

Additionally, USCIS announced that it will be delaying implementation of the H-1B Selection final rule, which amended the regulations governing the process by which USCIS selects H-1B registrations. The effective date was originally March 9, 2021 and has been delayed to December 31, 2021. This will give USCIS more time to develop, test, and implement the modifications, as well as provide more time for USCIS to train staff and perform public outreach. You can read more on the specifics of this rule on our blog here

For the upcoming H-1B cap season, USCIS will apply the current regulations, which involves a random selection process, to any registration period that takes place before December 31, 2021. 

This is the second year that USCIS is implementing the H-1B electronic registration process. Previously, employers filed their full H-1B petitions with USCIS, after which USCIS would select eligible petitions through a random selection process.  Now, following the initial registration period, USCIS will conduct a random selection of all the registrations received.  The number of registrants selected will be greater than the 85,000 visas allotted each year—generally between 95,000 to 100,000 to account for denied petitions. 

If a registrant is selected, USCIS will notify the registrant and his/her counsel that the employer is eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of the named beneficiary with the designated filing period.  This notice of selection will also indicate a filing location and the designated filing period which the H-1B petition must be filed. Employers will be provided at least 60-days to properly file a completed H-1B petition. You can read more about the process here

If you or one of your employees is interested in applying for an H-1B cap-subject visa, be sure to contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!