top of page

Latest H-1B Visa Updates: What It Means for Employers and Employees

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a pivotal update to the H-1B visa program, aimed at refining the process for high-skilled foreign workers seeking employment in the United States. This overhaul addresses critical areas of concern, such as fraud and fairness in the selection process, marking a significant shift towards a more equitable system.

 

For additional information regarding H-1B policies, and to find out how this could impact your business, please contact our Head of Immigration, Anna Sun, at anna.sun@consultils.com



H1B Visa

Must Know Updates


1. Beneficiary-Based Lottery Selection

A major update is the shift to a beneficiary-based lottery system, designed to prevent multiple submissions for the same individual and ensure fairness in the selection process.

USCIS will require registrants to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information for each beneficiary. It prohibits the beneficiary of an H1B registration from being registered under more than one passport or travel document.

 

2. Registration Window
  • Open: March 6, 2024 (at noon EST)

  • Close: March 22, 2024 (at noon EST)

 

3. Organizational Accounts & Online Filing System

New 'Organizational Accounts' will be launched in February 2024, which will facilitate better collaboration within organizations during the application process, aimed at streamlining applications.

Particularly, the moves to an online system marks a shift to a fully paperless process from H1B registration to H1B petition and any associated Form I-907, although applicants can still choose paper-based filing for petitions.

 

4. H-1B Fee Changes

USCIS also finalized significant changes to its fee structure. The registration fee during the registration period starting in March 2024, will remain $10.

 

However, starting April 1, 2024, H-1B petition filing fees will see an adjustment:

  • Registration Fee of FY 2026: will rise to $215;

  • I-129 Filing Fee: will increase to $780; for small employers* and nonprofits, it remains $460;

  • New “Asylum Program Fee”: is charged for $600; for small employers, it is $300; for nonprofits, it is $0;

  • Premium Processing Fee: will increase to $2,805 on February 26, 2024.


*Small employer refers to the one with 25 or fewer full-time employees


5. New Edition of Form I-129

On April 1, 2024, USCIS will only accept the 04/01/2024 edition of Form I-129.


H1B Visa

What Does It Mean for Employers

Employers must adapt to ensure full compliance with the new regulations. Here are key steps and considerations for employers to maintain compliance and successfully navigate the updated H-1B visa application process:

 

Internal Compliance Audits

Conduct internal audits of H-1B visa application processes to ensure all procedures are up-to-date and in compliance with the latest regulations. Identify any discrepancies or areas for improvement and address them promptly.

 

Training for HR and Legal Teams

Provide comprehensive training for HR personnel and legal teams on the revised H-1B visa program requirements. Ensuring that your teams are knowledgeable about the changes will help prevent unintentional violations.

 

Legal Consultation

Engage with immigration attorneys or legal experts to receive guidance on the H-1B application process. Legal professionals can offer insights into compliance best practices and help navigate complex application scenarios.

 

Candidate Selection and Verification

Adopt a strategic approach to candidate sponsorship by focusing on the most qualified individuals who meet the specific needs of your organization. Verify the eligibility and qualifications of each candidate thoroughly before submission.

 

Communication with Candidates

Maintain open and transparent communication with potential H-1B candidates regarding the application process, selection odds, and any required documentation. This ensures candidates are well-informed and can contribute to a smoother application process.

 

Record Keeping

Keep detailed records of all H-1B visa applications, including submissions, communications with USCIS, and any correspondence related to compliance. These records can be invaluable in the event of an audit or review by immigration authorities.

 

For additional information regarding H-1B policies, and to find out how this could impact your business, please contact our Head of Immigration, Anna Sun, at anna.sun@consultils.com


 

Anna Sun, Esq. is the Head of Immigration at ILS. She has advised clients for many years on all aspects of U.S. business immigration matters and has assisted employers worldwide in hiring and retaining foreign national executives and highly talented individuals for their U.S. workforce.


Email: anna.sun@consultils.com | Phone: +1 (626) 344-8949


*Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal opinion and does not create any attorney-client relationship.

bottom of page