Every January, employers go into high gear to prepare H-1B cap-subject petitions for filing on the first business day of April. This year, employers must also monitor for potential regulatory changes to the filing process. On December 3, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register titled “Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking To File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens.” The 30-day public comment period closed January 2, 2019, and employers remain in wait for the impact to this year’s cap-subject filings. While President Trump tweeted about H-1B changes that “are soon coming,” it is not clear whether they relate to the proposed rule.
The proposed rule seeks to accomplish two goals: streamline the H-1B selection and filing process by creating a pre-registration system, and increase the chances of selection for H-1B petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption by reversing the order in which the cap lotteries are run.
US Citizenship & Immigration Services (the agency responsible for immigration benefits within DHS) received over 800 comments on the proposed regulation, including comments from the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Medical Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The public comments criticize the proposed timeline and logistics, identify impacts stretching beyond immigration law, and suggest that the proposed rule may face court challenges if implemented: