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USCIS Proposed Rule on H-1B Registration Fee

On September 4, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a proposed rule requiring employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each registration they submit to USCIS for the H-1B cap selection process.  USCIS intends to have the registration system ready prior to the implementation of the H-1B registration process, which may be as soon as the H-1B cap filing season for FY 2021.

According to USCIS, the proposed fee will cover some of the costs of building and maintaining a new H-1B electronic registration system, which USCIS estimates will cost about $1.5 million to develop, on top of ongoing maintenance costs.

USCIS finalized a rule in January 2019 requiring employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period.  The final rule also reordered the cap selection process to prioritize foreign nationals with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.

H-1Bs allow skilled workers in certain specialty occupations to temporarily live and work in the United States.  Demand for H-1Bs has consistently outstripped the number available, which is capped at 65,000 annually, with an extra 20,000 H-1Bs for those with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.

Additional information on the proposed rule is available in the Federal Register.

We will prepare H-1B registrations in early 2020.  Contact our office to assist with H-1B registrations and with your questions about the H-1B program and the proposed rule.

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