In an effort to decrease the backlog of H-1B visa applications and the workload on USCIS personnel, the Department of Homeland Security is considering a rule change that would essentially create an extra step in the process. Other proposed changes to current immigration laws could change the order in which applications are selected in the lottery, which may have a detrimental impact on H-1B beneficiaries without advanced degrees. Below is a brief explanation of these proposed changes, some of which may go into effect before the 2019 filing window.
Proposed Changes to the H-1B Visa Application Process
Online Registration Requirement
Under current immigration law, petitioners and beneficiaries only discover whether their applications have been selected after filing a completed petition. To reduce the influx of applications, DHS is planning to institute an online registration system, which would require petitioners to submit their information, as well as the names and preliminary details about the beneficiaries. When a sufficient number of registrations to meet the annual cap have been received, USCIS plans to randomly select pre-registered petitioners, who will then be able to submit their applications.
Inverting the Selection Order
US immigration law divides H-1B applications into two separate categories, each with their own caps. Traditionally, USCIS selected petitions from the pool of highly educated beneficiaries before choosing applicants from the general pool, giving workers with advanced degrees two chances for nomination. The proposed rule changes would revert this order, increasing the number of highly qualified applicants in the general pool. This change is intended to increase the proportion of H-1B workers with master’s degrees or higher.
Immigration laws are constantly changing, which is why H-1B petitioners and beneficiaries alike rely on the expertise of Berd & Klauss, PLLC. As one of NYC’s most respected immigration law firms, they provide clients from around the world with effective legal advice in a wide range of situations. Visit their website for more on how they can help with your H-1B petition, or call (212) 461-7152 to speak to an attorney and arrange a consultation.