USCIS has announced that starting in 2020, H-1B petitions will be filed in a new electronic manner that streamlines the process.

Between March 1st and March 20th, 2020, employers must register online to submit H-1B employees’ names into a lottery.  Through an electronic selection process, beneficiaries chosen will be given a registration number, through which they can submit full H-1B cap-subject petitions.  The application fee for the electronic lottery is $10, and full petitions subsequently submitted by those selected will require typical application fees that typically range from $1,000 to $6,000.   

There are benefits and drawbacks to this new method.

The stated purpose of this system is to streamline the petition process, saving employers and beneficiaries time and money that would otherwise be spent on preparing a petition that may have not even been selected in the lottery in previous years. 

The drawback to this is many fear that this process will open up the lottery to an even greater flood of registrants for the preliminary electronic lottery.  There are systems in place preventing the system from accepting multiple applicants from the same petitioner, this lower cost and resource threshold to get into the lottery cause petition rates to skyrocket.

At the same time, this fear may be unfounded.  Even if selected for the H-1B lottery, applicants only have 90 days to complete the filing and, for those of us who have dealt with the timeline for answering an RFE, this can be a time crunch. This does not leave time and resources for applicants to wait until the last minute to prepare the entire petition that only those who are selected can submit.  Also, along with this streamlined process, it is expected that employers will be required to provide a detailed itinerary of the work the employee will be performing, the clients, and the locations, for the duration of the H-1B visa.  This burden of proof has only increased since 2017 and is projected to continue to grow.

If you are planning on submitting an H-1B petition for yourself, or for an employee or client this H-1B season, don’t let the streamlined process lure you into waiting until the last minute to prepare the bulk of the completed petition.  Due to the USCIS crackdown, it is advised to include an expert opinion letter in the initial petition that lends weight to specialty occupation issues, wage level issues, and issues regarding the employer-employee relationship to strengthen the case and prevent an RFE or Denial.  This letter must be written by an expert with extensive work experience in the field, and not someone who has simply instructed in the field.  Any education issues must also be addressed in the initial petition with a credential evaluation.

At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with difficult cases every year, and we work with our clients to identify what additional evidence they will need to strengthen their case and prevent any issues that are likely to arise from their unique situations.

Don’t wait to find out if you, or if your employee or client made the lottery, and definitely don’t wait for an RFE or Denial to address weaknesses in the case.  For a free review of your case, visit ccifree.com/.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.

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