US to accept H-1B visa applications from April 1

Updated: Dec 08, 2019, 07:58 IST | Agencies | Washington

Under the US Citizenship and Immigration Services's new system, employers will have to first register their proposed beneficiaries and pay a processing fee of $10

Washington: The US has completed implementation of H-1B electronic registration process for the 2021 cap season and the petitions for the most sought after work visa among Indian IT professionals will be accepted from April 1, 2020, the country's immigration agency has announced. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency mandated with task of approving such applications, on Friday announced that it had completed the process to implement the H-1B electronic registration process for the 2021 cap season. The companies applying for H-1B visas for foreign workers for the fiscal year 2021 would have to register online and pay a processing fee of USD 10. The USCIS would start accepting the H-1B petitions from April 1, 2020, for the next fiscal year.

"The electronic registration process will dramatically streamline processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange, and will provide an overall cost savings to petitioning employers," the USCIS said. Under this new process, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap, or their authorised representatives, will complete a registration process that requires only basic information about their company and each requested worker. The USCIS will open an initial registration period from March 1 to March 20, 2020.

The H-1B random selection process, if needed, will then be run on those electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, according to a media report. "By streamlining the H-1B cap selection process with a new electronic registration system, 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," said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans. USCIS will post step-by-step instructions informing registrants how to complete the registration process on its website along with timelines.

Making the cut

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.

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