DHS Releases Final Rule Regarding H-1B Cap Petitions

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

What changes were announced?

On January 30, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the final rule that amends regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, which we first wrote about here.

The final changes relate to two areas:

1. Electronic Registration: No change for this year’s FY 2020 cap season

  • This proposed change would require employers wanting to file H-1B cap petitions to register electronically with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for each sponsored foreign national employee in lieu of filing a complete H-1B cap petition upfront. USCIS has announced they will not implement the electronic registration requirement for the FY 2020 cap season. The agency stated it wants to complete user testing and ensure the system and process are fully functional. Therefore, for this year’s FY 2020 cap season, H-1B cap petitions will be submitted in the same process as prior years.

2. Order of the H-1B lottery selection: Change will take effect in this year’s FY 2020 cap season

  • Currently, H-1B cap petitions filed under the master’s or advanced degree cap (i.e. a qualifying U.S. master’s degree or higher) are selected before the H-1B regular cap (e.g., U.S. or foreign bachelor's degree or foreign master's degrees or higher). The proposed change would reverse that order, namely petitions for the H-1B regular cap will be selected first, and then petitions towards the master’s or advanced degree cap will be selected. USCIS says this change will result in an estimated increase of up to 16 percent in the number of selected H-1B cap petitions for employees with a qualifying U.S. master’s degree or higher.

To read the full rule on the Federal Register, please click here.

How Should You Proceed?

Global Immigration Associates (GIA) can confirm and continues to recommend that employers continue to work on your H-1B cap preparation per usual. As such, clients should be prepared to file H-1B cap petitions the first five business days of April with USCIS as in years past.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ryan  Bay, who is the Director of Legal Operations at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.