The countdown has begun. H-1B registration opens at noon Eastern Time on March 1, 2021 and runs through March 18th at noon Eastern Time. FY2023 petitioners must file separate registrations for each H-1B employee through the myUSCIS online registration system for a fee of $10 per beneficiary. If the H-1B cap is met by March 18th, which is almost guaranteed to occur, there will be a lottery and those selected will be notified by March 31st. If selected, petitioners can then submit completed petitions.
Last year, over 300,000 registrations were submitted and at the same time the denial rate dropped from 13% to 4%. However, this does not take the RFE rate into account. Just because petitions are being denied at lower rates does not mean petitioners are out of the woods. Many had to go through up to three rounds of justifying their case before visa approval due to restrictions of the H-1B program. Beneficiaries targeted by the previous administration’s H-1B restrictions still face the same strict USCIS approval trends.
While petitioners won’t find out if they will have to submit completed petitions until March 31st, it is important to consider the potential challenges facing H-1B employees should their registration be selected.
Potentially challenging H-1B cases include:
- Computer programmers making level one wages are at risk of specialty occupation issues because entry level computer programming positions NORMALLY but NOT ALWAYS require a bachelor’s degree.
- Other occupations the NORMALLY but NOT ALWAYS require a bachelor’s degree are also at risk of specialty occupation issues.
- Beneficiaries making level one wages.
- Employees who work at third-party worksites.
- Employees who work for firms that take on clients and do not have a complete itinerary of the work to be performed for the duration of the visa.
- Beneficiaries with degrees earned outside of the United States.
- Beneficiaries with incomplete college or no college.
- Beneficiaries with generalized degrees or in degrees in a major that does not match the H-1B job.
These cases are at risk because current proposed rules seek to limit the scope of what constitutes a specialty occupation and the employer-employee relationship and give preference to the highest wage-earners. Education issues are perennial RFE and Denial triggers we see every year that crop up when the beneficiary has anything except a US bachelor’s degree or higher in the exact field of the H-1B job.
The best way to answer RFEs and Denials is to prevent them in the first place, and that means anticipating red flags at the early stages of the petition process. At CCI TheDegreePeople.com we work with difficult cases every year. We know what triggers Denials and RFEs and we know what additional evidence and documentation is needed to strengthen cases to prevent these situations.
For a free review of your case visit www.ccifree.com. We will respond in 4 hours or less.
Sheila Danzig is the director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com. Sheila specializes in overturning RFEs and Denials for work visas.