As the new year begins, employers are planning for the upcoming annual H-1B cap season. Ongoing H-1B litigation and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic that challenged employers and petitioners in 2020 will persist in January 2021. Proposed changes to the H-1B cap program, including new rules that, if implemented, would replace the random lottery system with a wage-based selection process, may impact cap season for FY 2022.
Envoy will provide updates as they become available to any legal or procedural changes that may affect the FY 2022 cap season, but employers should plan to proceed as usual for next year’s cap.
Preparing a FY 2022 Cap Season H-1B Petition
Envoy offers three packages to help employers file a strong H-1B petition:
- Registration + LCA
- Full Case Preparation
Global Immigration Associates and Envoy Global are hosting a kick-off webinar specifically for customers on Thursday, January 14, at 2pm ET / 1pm CT. We strongly encourage you to attend this webinar as we will be discussing a variety of information specific to FY 2022 cap season, including the three options available for filing.
Click here to register for this webinar.
Depending on the package chosen, support ranges from the legal team evaluating the strength of the H-1B petition prior to electronic registration and determining H-1B alternatives up front to completing the H-1B cap petition before the lottery selection. The legal team will suggest alternatives, as applicable, and review the petition’s strength for each package.
After selecting a package, employers should gather all required documentation and supporting materials or their H-1B cap petitions for their employees. Please note that employers will need to submit H-1B cap petitions only if they are selected in the cap registration process.
Please contact Envoy with any questions about the package options and their features.
H-1B Filing Timelines and the H-1B Cap Selection Process
For FY 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the same online registration process that it launched for the FY 2021 cap season. The online registration system was introduced to streamline and expedite the H-1B petition process. Prospective petitioners can create an account through the USCIS website prior to the registration period. USCIS will announce key registration dates and deadlines for FY 2022 as the registration period approaches. Employers should note that a $10, nonrefundable registration fee applies for each H-1B cap registration submitted electronically.
Important Changes to Note for FY 2022
Proposed changes to the H-1B cap program, including new rules that could replace the current random selection process with a wage-based system, are to be implemented within the next 60 days. Envoy and GIA anticipate legal challenges to these changes and the impacts to FY 2022 cap cases are still unknown at this time.
Employers and employees should be aware that premium processing fees have increased for FY 2022 following a new law that went into effect in 2020 called H.R. 8337. The new law increases the cost of premium processing to $2,500 for all categories that are eligible for premium processing, including H-1Bs. Please note that at this time, we do not yet know if premium processing is available for H-1B cap petitions.
Envoy will issue updates and further guidance for the FY 2022 cap season as they become available. Please visit our H-1B Resource Center for updates on ongoing litigation and preparing to file your H-1B application.
Remaining Open Cases from FY 2021 Cap
Although USCIS has not officially notified us of the close of the FY2021 cap lottery, we are confident that no additional lottery registrants will be selected. At this time, we will be closing all unselected H-1B cap cases from last year. You will see this change reflected in the Envoy platform the second week of January 2021.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.