As the US Citizenship and Immigration Services begins to implement its online electronic registration system for H-1B cap-subject petitions for Fiscal Year 2021 – which is a major deviation from prior years – an examination of the additional changes to the H-1B programme which may be made in the future is in order. US employers should be aware of these possible revisions to the H-1B programme and plan accordingly.
Some employers have learned the hard way that the role of representatives and attorneys is clearly separated in the Programme Electronic Review Management (PERM) rule and that a violation of this rule may have serious consequences. Violators of the PERM rule will find their applications denied or worse, as there are several strategies to punish employers that act in bad faith.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a rule to increase the filing fees for most of its applications and petitions for immigration benefits. Some of the provisions in the proposed rule to increase filing fees suggest that US employers or the public may pay the same or more money, but receive less service from the USCIS. US employers should plan and budget accordingly, monitor the movement of the rule through the rulemaking process and watch out for any possible litigation.
The Department of Labour has introduced its electronic review officers and launched its new online portal: the Foreign Labour Application Gateway (FLAG). The FLAG portal is not yet up and running for Programme Electronic Review Management applications, but is available for all labour condition, temporary H-2A and H-2B and prevailing wage applications.
In January 2019 the US Department of Homeland Security passed a rule that amended the regulations governing the H-1B cap-subject selection process. One of the biggest changes requires employers seeking to file an H-1B cap-subject petition to register the foreign national with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services online electronic registration system. This article sets out some of the items to be aware of with respect to the online electronic registration system for the upcoming H-1B cap season.