What You Need to Know About H-1B Visa Changes

What You Need to Know About H-1B Visa Changes

The US government has something you could call a Christmas gift for employers who hire high-skilled workers from abroad: a new application process for the H-1B visa!

This news was made public on December 3 by the United States’ Department of Homeland security. It requires employers to register their choice employees online for the H-1B visa. The registration must be done and completed for a complete two weeks before April 1 which is the deadline for applications. Only those whose online submissions were successful will then proceed to submit a full application. This new process will be a complete change from how petitions were reviewed. Applicants who have a Master’s degree or higher, will be more favored with these new regulations.

There are a series of other policy changes introduced for the H-1B visa, and this move to change the application process is the most recent change. The government aims to, through these changes, cut down on the overall costs for employers who employ professionals from foreign countries through the H-1B visa scheme. The registration process done online is entirely free. The fees for filing applications cost $2,400 upwards. Apart from the charges, these new changes will also reduce the administrative load of processing so many H-1B applications which usually run in the hundreds of thousands.

Breakdown of the procedure for the new changes

The new changes will take the following procedure to process applications:

  1. Interested employers will first submit an online form during the period set aside for registration. This period must start in March and end with no less than two full weeks before April 1.
  2. As long as the USCIS gets enough registrations, it will make a random selection from the registrations up to the 85,000 maximum numbers of required applications.
  3. The employers, whose registrants were successful, will then be given 60 full days to submit the complete H-1B application for them.
  4. After the 60 days, USCIS will then proceed to process applications till they get to the 65,000 visa cap. All applications that do not come with a Master’s degree will be then be discarded.
  5. The USCIS will then process the applications of the rest 20,000 applications.

The USCIS estimates that this new process will ensure that up to 16% more foreigners who have a Master’s degree upwards will obtain the H-1B visa.

The public can comment on the rule changes up till January 2, 2019.

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