Last fall, the federal government proposed a pre-registration plan that would change and, in theory, streamline the application process for the H-1B visa, of which 85,000 are allocated annually.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) announced in the federal register that the pre-registration plan was moving forward with a 60-day public comment period ending August 26.
In the proposed new process, companies who seek an H-1B visa for a foreign worker would first submit a free online registration form instead of an initial application before the window for applications opened each April. The date for application submissions would be announced at least 30 days in advance. Then, authorities with USCIS would determine which select registrations would move forward in the application process, with new visas awarded by lottery.
This new pre-registration plan follows regulations finalized in January to favor individuals with higher degrees from U.S. colleges and universities. This shift was applied in this year’s lottery in April.