DHS Proposes H-1B Cap Changes


Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Notice of Proposed Rule-making that would change how USCIS conducts the annual H-1B cap lottery.

The proposed rule would first require H-1B cap petitioners to register with USCIS online. Specifically, USCIS would conduct a registration period that would end prior to the start of the H-1B cap filing period. USCIS would then notify petitioners which registrations were selected in the lottery. The result is that employers would only have to physically file petitions which USCIS already selected in the lottery. Thus, the goal of this proposal is to relieve petitioning companies and USCIS of the administrative burdens associated with filing and processing petitions not selected in the lottery. Notably, the proposed rule allows USCIS to suspend the online registration process if it experiences technical issues. It also provides USCIS the option to forego the online registration process for Fiscal Year 2020 if USCIS is unable to finish testing the system in time.

In addition, the proposed rule would require USCIS to conduct the regular H-1B cap lottery before it conducts the lottery for beneficiaries with advanced U.S. degrees. USCIS projects this process change would increase the likelihood of beneficiaries with a U.S. master's degree or higher being selected in the lottery by up to sixteen percent.

The public comment period for the proposed rule ends January 2, 2019.