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Why the New H-1B Registration Process is Actually a Good Thing for Business

Posted December 17, 2019H-1B

As any employer that has sponsored an H-1B employee knows, the cost of playing the H-1B lottery is high and the odds of winning are low (roughly 50%). A new electronic registration process that’s being rolled out for the upcoming fiscal year is a game changer and is the most advantageous ever for start-ups to sponsor H-1B candidates. Indeed, the new electronic registration process will cost less, provide transparency in selection, and provide faster notification of selection. Similar to last year, by reversing the order of the lottery (first master’s cap exemption then regular H1B cap), it will also favor those with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher.

Under this new process, employers seeking H-1B workers will complete a simple online registration that requires only basic information about the employer and each requested worker. The initial registration period will run from March 1 through March 20, 2020. After registration has closed, USCIS will run a random selection process on the electronic registrations and then notify the employer of those selected. Only those selected will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. This means employers can test their luck, and if a sponsored H-1B candidate is selected, decide at that time whether to move forward with submitting an H-1B petition and incur the associated fees. This process will prevent an interruption in cash flow, as the filing fees for unselected petitions will no longer sit in account for extended lengths of time. 

We are here to help! Your Meltzer Hellrung team (Partner, Sr. Associate, and Paralegal) is proactive in pushing case work to filing, using our technology platform to provide transparency during the case preparation process.  We are also process evangelists, designing high-volume processes like H-1Bs to be efficient and less burdensome on your time, including 10-business day turnaround on H-1B transfers and automation of the creation, storage, and purging of your LCA Public Access Files.

We have two pricing models this year with the H-1B electronic lottery system:

  1. Cost Saver - You can pay 50% of the H-1B attorney's fee up front and we'll open the case, assess and address all issues for filing, file the H-1B LCA, and register the candidate for the electronic H-1B lottery system. When we find out who is selected in the lottery on 3/31/2020 and your candidate is among those selected, we would charge the other 50% of the attorney's fee and the government filing fees ($2460 or $3900 w/premium processing), prepare and print the petition for filing, and ship it to the USCIS for processing to an approval or denial. The main benefit of this approach is that it's cheaper for the company. The downside is that after we find out who is selected in the lottery, we'll have several hundred H-1B submissions that need to go out, which will take us roughly 60 days to complete. In other words, we won't be able to file immediately after we know someone was selected, which many employees will want, because we'll have a high volume of cases to get through. We guarantee we'll file before the 90-day window for filing after the lottery closes, but we can't guarantee submission in the first few weeks after the lottery.

  2. Fast Filing - You can pay 100% of the attorney's fee up front and we will fully prepare the entire H-1B lottery petition to a paper submission, enter the person in the electronic system, and then place the paper petition "on the shelf." If your candidate is selected in the lottery, we would bill you for the required filing fees and then ship the case to the USCIS as soon as filing fee payment is made. The benefits of this approach are 1) we'll be able to file after lottery selection faster because we'll have prepared the entire petition ahead of time and 2) this hedges the valid concerns we have with USCIS lottery systems failing in some way as this is the very first year of the electronic lottery and we expect over 200,000 submissions into a brand new system that has never handled this type of volume before. Should something happen to the electronic system, we believe USCIS will revert to the old paper petition filing system and conduct the lottery manually as they've done for the past 15 years.