The U.S. government had announced that the Cap subject’s initial registration period for FY 2023 H-1B Visas will be available at 12:01 Eastern Time (ET), on March 1, 2022. Employers should encourage employees to work together to provide the required information promptly to avoid any last-minute problems.
New accounts could be created at USCIS portal by employers starting at noon ET on February 21st, 2022. From March 1, 2022, employers and their representatives (registrants), could create and submit registration forms for H1B applicants.
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Register for H-1B
The Cap H-1B The registration window was open from March 1 to noon (ET) March 18, 2022. If the USCIS receives more H-1B registrations than the annual CAP, it holds a lottery. The lottery results were published by March 31, 2022 starting a few days before this date. Petitions for selected candidates may be filed starting April 1, 2022. The filing window was open for 90 days after the announcement of the lottery results.
Employers who want to hire foreign nationals under the H-1B category must first register each candidate electronically online (USCIS portal). A $10 fee is required for each registration. This process remained the same as last year and would be similar in FY 2024 H1B.
Employers or their authorized representatives (including lawyers) must first electronically register each potential candidate online and pay a $10 fee for each registration. Only name and passport number is required from each applicant to create their H1B registration on USCIS portal. Employers may only file petitions for the selected candidates if the USCIS has to conduct a lottery.
In any fiscal year, registrants can only submit one registration per beneficiary. A candidate can be registered by more than one employer.
Background about the H-1B Cap
Employers can hire foreign national workers under the H1B program if they have at least a bachelor’s degree, or an equivalent in a relevant field. This is also known as a specialty occupation.
Also, the employee must be paid wages at the prevailing wage or equivalent to wages earned by another worker for the same job in the same area. The rules provide that 65,000 H1Bs will be issued every fiscal year. Graduates with a U.S. Master’s Degree or higher are eligible for an additional 20,000 H1B.
USCIS has always accepted cap subject petitions that began on April 1, each year, with employment beginning October 1. Many years ago, all H1B applicants received hard copies of their petitions within five days of April. After that the USCIS conducted a lottery.
This resulted in large filing costs for employers as well as huge mailing and manpower costs for the USCIS. It had to return any petitions it did not select in the lottery. The USCIS received twice to three times as many Cap applications each year over the years.
H1B caps apply to nearly all H1B petitions. This is the third consecutive year that the USCIS will use online registration to randomly select sufficient H1B registrations in order to meet the Cap.
The USCIS could conduct additional lotteries at a future date. The USCIS held two lotteries in 2020, three in 2021 and only one lottery in 2022 when there were not enough petitions to fulfill the quota.
Preparation for the FY 2023 H1B/CAP Filing Season
Employers did identify qualified candidates who were eligible to file an H1B petition under FY 2023 H1B Capital. These candidates should have at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) and can fill professional positions.
Employers will need to know the information and documents that employees have in order to determine their eligibility. Employees should also be able to renew their passports or obtain new passports if they expire in the near future.
H1B applicants may be already employed or working with temporary work authorization in the U.S. This includes:
- Students who are enrolled in Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical training (CPT) programs will require H1B sponsorship to remain in the U.S. after their OPT/CPT expires.
- H1B visa holders currently with an exempt employer are eligible to apply. They will need to be selected in the lottery if they want to change from a Cap-exempt employer into an employer subject to the Cap.
- Candidates who are required to move to H1B after a nonimmigrant status like TN, O-1, J-1, H-3 or H-2.
It is vital to verify the eligibility of every candidate before they are registered. If a registration is chosen in the lottery, the employer must file an application. Failure to file a petition can result in sanctions or penalties.
Employers should have all the information necessary to ensure that each applicant can complete the registration form during the March 1-18 window. We recommend that you complete the H1B petition only after the lottery has been conducted and the candidate has been selected.
In the End:
Employers should verify the information required for each candidate and create a checklist in advance. It is best to consult a qualified attorney if in doubt. If you missed the registration window of March 2022, or misfiled a form, you may have to wait until March 2023 before you can start the process over again.
As the U.S. struggles to find qualified professionals in certain areas, experts believe there will be a lottery again in the future.