The US will start accepting applications for the H1B Visa for FY2021 from 1st April 2020. The number of visa spots available to professionals working in “speciality occupations” will also be made available on the same day. Like in the past, it is expected that the demand will most likely exceed the number of available visa places.
Preparing for the upcoming H1B Visa filing season
Employers should identify employees or prospective employees who need to be sponsored for the H1B Program. These could include students on F1 Visa, J1 trainees, employees on the L1 Visa or employees who did not get selected in previous H1B lotteries.
When the H1b quota is reached, employers will not be able to file any new cap-subject H1B Visa petitions.
The US to implement a new online registration process
The US will implement a new online registration process for the upcoming FY2021 H1B Visa filing season. Petitioning employers will not need to submit a full H1B petition until the lottery happens. Instead, they will need to submit an online registration for each eligible H1B beneficiary who they wish to sponsor.
The filing period for the new registration process will be announced on the USCIS website at least 30 days prior to the registration period. Employers will most likely get a submission period of at least 14 days. They will also need to pay a registration fee of $10 for each H1B registration. This registration fee is non-refundable.
The USCIS will hold a computer-generated lottery if the number of registration exceeds the annual limit of 85,000. For each selected registration, the employer must submit a full H1B petition within 90 days.
Even though USCIS and the Dept. of Homeland Security have announced the implementation of the new e-registration process for FY2021, they still hold the discretion to suspend the same. They may resort back to the old system in case any technical problems arise with the new registration process.
Petitioning employers, hence, should be prepared to submit full H1B petitions within 5 days in April if the new registration process is suspended.
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