USCIS has announced that the initial registration period for the Cap Subject FY 2023 H-1B Visas will open at noon Eastern Time (ET) on March 1, 2022, and run through noon ET on March 18, 2022. Registrants can create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on February 21, 2022. Representatives and registrants must wait until March 1 to create and submit H-1B registrations.
The H-1B Registration Process
The H-1B cap registration will take place from March 1 through March 18, with the registration lottery conducted before March 31 if USCIS receives enough registrations by March 18. USCIS intends to notify account holders of the results by March 31. Employers seeking to file FY 2023 H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS. Under this process, which is similar to last year’s, employers, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration requiring basic information about their company and each requested H1B cap worker. USCIS will run a random selection on those electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2023. Once the lottery winners have been announced, they will have 90 days to file their full H-1B petitions.
1. H-1B Cap Process Background
The H-1B is available to employers seeking to hire a foreign national worker with at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field for a position that requires a degree in the field, also known as a specialty occupation. The employee must also be paid the prevailing rate of pay for the occupation. Under the rules, 65,000 new H-1B’s are issued each fiscal year, which begins on October 1, with an additional 20,000 for graduates of U.S. master’s degree programs. USCIS has historically accepted applications for cap subject petitions beginning on April 1. For many years, the H-1B cap was reached very quickly, resulting in a lottery, which was a random selection process of the H-1B applications received to determine which applications were assigned an H-1B cap number and adjudicated. Some years as many as three times the applications were received as there were spots available.
Today, USCIS uses a registration process to randomly select enough H1B registrations to meet the cap. Those selected in the lottery may then file the full H-1B cap petition with a start date of October 1, 2022. Registrants are only allowed to submit one registration per beneficiary in any fiscal year.
It is possible that USCIS will run more than one lottery, as happened twice last year, when the initial registrations chosen did not yield enough H-1B petitions to meet the quota.
2. How Should an Employer Prepare for the 2023 H-1B Season?
Unless we have already sent you an email regarding beneficiary names we have collected, employers should contact us as soon as possible with information about the employees for which you will be filing. We will prepare the registration forms to be submitted during the March 1 through March 18 window. The entire H-1B petition will be prepared only after the lottery is conducted and the case is chosen. We will need specific information about each employee to be registered and we will send a detailed registration checklist for each employee beneficiary.
3. Identifying Candidates Who Need H-1B Sponsorship
The H-1B cap applies in most situations to new H-1B petitions for foreign workers who have not had H-1B status before.
To avoid missing out on filing an H-1B petition under the FY 2023 H-1B cap, it is important to identify candidates who need sponsorship and are in professional positions. Some of the candidates may already be currently employed and working under temporary work authorization. Below are examples of cases where an employee or job candidate may need H-1B sponsorship:
- Students working under Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and will need H-1B sponsorship to be eligible to be employed in the U.S. once their OPT or CPT expires.
- Candidates currently in H-1B status with an H-1B cap exempt employer (institutions of higher education or a related or affiliated non-profit entity, nonprofit research organizations, or governmental research organizations) seeking employment opportunities with cap subject employers.
- Candidates in other nonimmigrant work status such as TN, H-3, H-2, O-1 and J-1 but need to change their status to H-1B.
Please contact us soon if you would like our assistance in registering, preparing and filing a cap-subject H-1B petition. We strongly recommend starting the H-1B application process as soon as possible and no later than February 15, 2022.