This year, significant changes to the H-1B cap-subject application process are expected to go into effect. There are still many unknowns, a high likelihood of RFEs, and a very tight deadline.
For the highest chance of success, it is crucial to begin strategic preparation before registration and be ready to file soon after filing opens. Here are a few reasons why.
To facilitate work authorization and adjudication by October 1st.
H-1B registration will occur in March this year, followed by the lottery. Last Friday, January 10 at 2:20 pm, USCIS announced that it will notify registrants with selected registrations no later than March 31.
In this announcement, USCIS also noted, “unless the registration requirement is suspended”. USCIS has not provided guidance as to what happens if it needs to suspend registration.
We do expect that H-1B cap petitions filings will open in April. There might be a 90-day filing period, and this will be followed by adjudication. Without strategic advanced preparation, a strong filing will not be completed until late June.
Considering that adjudications are currently taking six to eight months, and that there may be an RFE which extends the process, it is easy for the adjudication to go beyond October 1st and for a beneficiary to fall out of work authorization.
To maintain a smooth business workflow.
The current H-1B process without pre-registration, lottery, or cap-gap can consume significant time and resources from employers and employees and affects the business workflow.
Add to this the uncertainties and challenges of the H-1B cap season, and more anxiety is created. To counterbalance these issues, strong preparation of the filing needs to start early.
Doing this enables you to better anticipate and proactively prepare for potential challenges, such as:
- Registration and/or LCA filing suspension, or
- RFEs relating to wage level, specialty nature of occupation, the qualifications of the beneficiary, the nature of the employer’s business, team composition, and others.
To account for the many unknowns of this new process.
Many details about the process are still unknown.
The electronic system that will be used for registration is not fine-tuned for the expected workload. USCIS has not held any of the required outreach educational activities to facilitate the registration. There is no guidance about the availability of Premium Processing. And questions remain about the effect of the new process on those benefiting from the cap-gap work authorization, just to name a few issues.
We are actively and proactively working with our clients to strategically collect and prepare required information and documents. If you need our assistance with this process, please reach out to us now.
How to Start Getting Ready: A Checklist for H-1B Cap Filing Preparation
To continue to smooth this process for you, we have created an initial checklist of documents and information that employers and employees should be gathering now.