The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on Friday announced that it has completed implementation of the electronic registration system for H-1B visas, and applications will be accepted from April 1, 2020 for the next financial year.
The H-1B visa allows US companies to temporarily employ skilled workers from abroad. More than three lakh Indians are believed to be on this work permit.
The federal agency said the new system will require employers to first register their proposed H-1B beneficiaries and pay a processing fee of $10. The registration process requires basic information about the company and each requested worker.
The initial registration period will open between March 1, 2010 and March 20, 2020. “The H-1B random selection process, if needed, will then be run on those electronic registrations,” the agency said. “Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.”
“The electronic registration process will dramatically streamline processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange, and will provide an overall cost savings to petitioning employers,” USCIS said in a press release.
The federal immigration authorities said the electronic registration system was intended to make the process more efficient and less time-taking. “USCIS is creating cost savings and efficiencies for petitioners and the agency, as only those selected will now be required to submit a full petition,” USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans said. “The agency completed a successful pilot testing phase, which included sessions with industry representatives, and implementation of the registration system will further the goal of modernizing USCIS from a paper-based to an online-filing agency,” he added.
The agency said it will provide step-by-step instructions informing registrants how to complete the registration process on its website along with key dates and timeline before the initial registration period. The USCIS may determine if it is necessary to continue accepting registrations, or open an additional registration period, if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions projected to reach the numerical allocations, it added.
The electronic lottery will be used to pick the 85,000 visas the United States grants every year to highly skilled foreigners – 65,000 hired abroad and 20,000 from among foreigners pursuing advanced degree studies in US colleges and universities.