USCIS Proposes Mandatory Electronic Registration Process For Employers Filing H-1B Petitions

Contributed by Jacqueline Lentini McCullough

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposes to establish a mandatory Internet-based electronic registration process for U.S. employers seeking to file H-1B petitions for alien workers subject to either the 65,000 or 20,000 annual caps.

This proposed regulation would alleviate significant administrative burdens on USCIS Service Centers, and eliminate the need for U.S. employers to prepare a complete H-1B petition without any certainty that an H-1B cap number will be allocated to the beneficiary named on the petition. For employers and beneficiaries who are not allocated a cap number, the cost savings will be significant since no petition will be required to be filed as under the current system. Only employers who are allocated a cap number will be required to subsequently submit an H-1B petition.

It is anticipated that this proposed regulation will be finalized and take effect in time for Fiscal Year 2012 (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012). Initially, the electronic registration process will only be applicable to the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. However, other nonimmigrant classifications will be added as needed.