New H1B CAP Registration Rules: Explained

Starting 2020 H1B CAP season, employers are required to electronically pre-register their employees with the USCIS in advance. Here is how the pre-registration process works:

  • Employers should pre-register all their CAP employees electronically 14 days before April 1st, 2020.

  • The registration process only requires basic employer and employee details, along with the degree information.

  • USCIS will use the registration info to conduct a lottery. They will first pick 65,000 applications from the entire pool, followed by 20,000 masters applications from the remaining pool. So Masters students will get to double-dip.

  • USCIS will then notify the employers about the selected employees, and provide them a 60-day window to apply for H1B. For example, USCIS may give you a specific application window between April 1st - May 30th, or May 1st -June 30th etc. You will always get a 60-day window to apply.

  • Employers can then file an LCA, and prepare the full application packet and mail it to the USCIS within that window.

This new process will be beneficial in many ways

  • It is cost effective, since employers are only preparing applications for employees selected in the lottery. It will save a lot of time and attorney fees as well.

  • The applications are spread out over time, among the various filing windows. So employers are not rushing all the applications on April 1st, thus reducing the possibility of errors.

  • In the past, you send your application on April 1st, and your job/project situation could change by the time your application is adjudicated, sometimes many months later. Now your application is going in within a 60 day window, so you can adjust your application to reflect your job/project changes.

As an organization that employs a number of people on OPT/H1B/GC, we are always on top of immigration related issues. We believe that immigration is just as important as training, placement and all other factors. Read below to see how we manage our immigration process.

We are hiring! Use the calendar at the bottom of this page to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced recruiters to discuss your job options and OPT/H1B questions.

OPT Stem Extension

These are the steps we took to comply with I-983 rules:

  • We created a detailed training plan that is specific to each employee, based on their degree and coursework undertaken.

  • All employees have been put on a salary schedule, and our compensation structure is designed such that the OPT employees are paid continuously, even while on bench between projects.

  • Note that the OPT STEM Extension employees should be paid and that their pay should be similar to all similarly situated employees. So we came up with a way of uniformly paying all OPT employees during their first and subsequent years, while at the same time satisfying the employees' desire to maximize their compensation.

  • The job duties and description in the form I-983 were designed to be in compliance with OPT requirements. But at the same time, we also made sure that they do not conflict with your eventual H1B application. You don't want issues from your OPT I-983 biting you in the wrong place during your H1B process.

  • We have documented in detail the in-house, in-person classroom training provided to these employees. We also did assessments before and after the training, thus documenting the value that we added as OPT employers, which is the primary requirement for an OPT employer.

  • We assigned mentors to OPT employee. These mentors are industry experts with more that a decade of experience in their fields, and will act as the technical supervisor of the employees.

  • We also assigned an administrative supervisor, who will be in charge of all the administrative and reporting requirements to stay in compliance.

  • We have an automated mechanism in place to track all the required reporting dates (every 6 and 12 months to the DSO), and also monthly updates, quarterly performance assessments as required by I-983 rules.

  • And we do this for EVERY single one of our OPT employees. Because if we are found out of compliance with just one employee, it might impact that status of all other OPT employees. Something you want to be aware of while choosing an OPT employer.

In short, we have created a process by which all the right steps are taken at the right time, so that we are able to successfully navigate any future audits and site visits from the USCIS. At the end of the day, this is the key to long-term success with immigration!

H1B Processing

Did you know that there are a number of H1 regulations that are almost always violated by most employers? Here are some examples:
* It is OUTRIGHT ILLEGAL to charge the employees for H1B fees. Yes, it is ILLEGAL. Do you want to jeopardize your future with an employer that charges you?
* Similarly situated employees should be paid equally. Meaning two people in the same metro filed at the same wage level cannot be paid differently. But it happens all the time, especially when you are working on percentage basis.
* Employers should have an established and documented wage policy that is implemented consistently across the board. But the pay rates for most consulting companies are all over the map, which is a clear violation. One Java developer is making $30/hr, while a different one is making $55/hr.
* While I-9 forms may look simple, most employers get tripped up on I-9 audits, which have become very common. Did your employer update your I-9 after your H1B was approved - most probably not!

These regulations have not been enforced by the USCIS in the past, but we all know that times have changed with Trump in the office. We are already seeing the impact on the H1B cap cases filed with Level 1 wages. You don't want to wait until the axe falls, and your employer is audited. Find an employer who has figured out how to work within the rule of law, while maintaing the flexibility and pay levels that you wish to earn.

GC Processing

GC is a long and arduous process. Find an employer willing to get your GC started right away. Ask them about the processes they have in place to overcome the usually restrictive GC requirements like prevailing wages, ability to pay, use of experience gained within the same organization etc. 

Financial Stability / Payment History / Employee Feedback

You guys are all smart enough to know that you should join a well-funded company, that has a history of paying their employees on time. Employers with 100+ consultants are usually well-funded to withstand any market downturns. But more importantly, talk to other consultants who work there. But there is one more aspect to this. When your employer files for your GC, they need to show the ability to pay (because GC is a future job). And not all employers are funded well enough.

Placement History

At the end of the day, you want to get placed and stay billable. Work with an employer that has a lot of varied clients, not just a handful of major clients. So if your project ends, they can always place you with one of their other clients. 

Where do we stand?

* We invest heavily in our immigration process to make it impeccable. We are able to meet all the regulations and requirements, while also maintaining the pay and flexibility that you desire. 
* We are financially very strong, and we have planned for market downturns and extended periods between projects. Our recruiters can tell you more.
* We have made more than 500 placements in the last few years, in over 30 states nationwide. If you are motivated, we can get you placed in a matter of weeks. We have a number of candidates that got placed within the first week.
* We will apply for your GC immediately after H1B approval. And we have 100% success rate with GCs. We got 4 GCs approved just this month.

We are hiring! Use the calendar at the bottom of this page to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced recruiters to discuss your job options and OPT/H1B questions. 

 

(Use the calendar below to schedule a phone appointment)