10 February 2022

Act Quickly To Hire Foreign National Talent H-1B Visa Registration To Begin In March

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) will again use the electronic registration process introduced in 2020 to select eligible foreign nationals on a lottery basis for fiscal year cap-subject H-1B visas.  The H-1B visa is often the best option to employ foreign nationals in technical or professional occupations that require at least a Bachelor’s Degree.  Thus, timely completion of the electronic registration process is critically important. The USCIS has announced it will allow registrations to begin at 12:00 p.m. EST on March 1, 2022 and close the process at 12:00 p.m. EST on March 18, 2022. Registration requires employers to complete basic information about the company and each foreign national beneficiary. The USCIS will continue a $10 fee for each beneficiary registered.

New H-1B visas are capped at 85,000 for each government fiscal year for cap-subject employers, which applies to all for-profit companies. A limited cap-exemption applies to certain non-profit organizations, colleges, and universities. Thus, most employers must face the challenge that H-1B visa demand is certain to exceed the available quota. Employers who fail to register this March may lose valuable employees currently working under the F-1 or J-1 student visa, as work authorization has limited duration under those visa classifications. High demand for the H-1B visa has existed for years, as it is often the only option to retain or hire skilled foreign nationals, including recent U.S. college graduates.

Employers whose H-1B registrations are selected will initially be notified by March 31, 2022, with possible subsequent selections in the following months, until all 85,000 available visas are taken. We emphasize those employers with workers in the F-1 or J-1 visa class who miss the March 2022 registration period will have to wait until March 2023 to again apply for an H-1B visa, which will only have an October 1, 2024 fiscal year effective date. Advance planning is necessary to avoid work authorization interruptions with foreign national workers.

Employers looking to enter foreign national employees in the H-1B lottery should contact a member of Miller Johnson’s Immigration Law Practice Group to confirm H-1B visa eligibility and prepare for the registration as soon as possible. Questions about the USCIS electronic employer registration, or questions on whether a job candidate or employee will require an H-1B visa petition, may be directed to any member of the Miller Johnson Immigration Law Practice Group.