Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 19, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule under which employers filing H-1B cap-subject petitions will be required to pay a $10 nonrefundable fee for each registration they submit to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), once the new electronic registration process is operational. The registration fee requirement is effective December 9, 2019.
According to DHS, the $10 fee will support the electronic registration system and help recover some of the costs that are associated with operating and maintaining it. The new process seeks to boost USCIS efficiency and lower expenses for each petitioner, who will no longer have to prepare and submit its full H-1B petition unless that petition has been selected.
“USCIS moved one step closer to its goal of revising the H-1B cap selection process — also known as the H-1B lottery — by issuing a final rule requiring a $10 registration fee per H-1B petition, starting December 9, 2019,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “What’s next is when, exactly, the program is to be implemented and how, specifically, it is to work. USCIS says that it is still testing its proposed system and that it will provide the public with sufficient time before putting the new system into effect. Stay tuned to see how it plays out.”
USCIS is expected to launch the new electronic registration process for the fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap season once user testing of the system is complete. The agency will publish a formal announcement in the Federal Register once the system is ready to launch. Upon implementation of the electronic registration system, all H-1B cap-subject petitioners will first have to complete electronic registration with USCIS during a specified period. The $10 fee will be required when registrations are submitted.
In a notice issued on November 7, 2019, USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli described the electronic registration system as a key part of the agency’s efforts to “modernize our immigration system” along with “improving vetting procedures” and preventing fraud.
DHS maintained that the registration fee was unlikely to present a substantial business cost for petitioners seeking to hire cap-subject H-1B employees. The department noted that the fee will reduce some of the estimated cost savings for unselected H-1B cap-subject petitioners.
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