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Key Changes in the FY 2025 H-1B Registration Process

The U.S. has introduced the H-1B Modernization Rule, altering the H-1B cap registration process for 2025. The registration is set from March 6 to March 22.

Key Changes in the FY 2025 H-1B Registration Process

In a recent development, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced the first phase of the H-1B Modernization Rule, signaling significant alterations to the H-1B cap registration system. This final regulation, set to be published today, will come into effect 30 days later, impacting the FY 2025 H-1B cap registration period. The following is a detailed breakdown of the crucial modifications and their implications.

Important Dates

The FY 2025 H-1B cap registration period begins at noon ET on March 6 and will conclude at noon ET on March 22. Simultaneously, the USCIS organizational account system will go live on February 28, allowing employers to create new accounts or upgrade existing ones.

Beneficiary-Centric System

The primary shift introduced by the H-1B Modernization Rule is the transition from a registration-centric to a beneficiary-centric system. Under this new approach, a foreign national's passport or valid travel document will serve as their unique identifier during the H-1B cap registration submission.

This move aims to streamline the selection process and deter companies from submitting multiple registrations on behalf of the same foreign national.

Noteworthy aspects of the beneficiary-centric system include:

  • Unique Identifier Requirement: Foreign nationals must use a single passport or travel document for all registrations. USCIS reserves the right to invalidate registrations if multiple submissions for the same individual use different identifying information.
  • Travel Document Usage: A travel document can substitute for a passport in cases where issuance is not possible, such as for stateless individuals or refugees.
  • Consistent Information: If the registration is selected, the subsequently filed H-1B petition must align with the information provided in the selected registration, requiring the inclusion of the passport used during registration. Exceptions may be made for certain changes, like legal name alterations or updated passport information.

Strengthening Fraud Prevention Measures

To combat misrepresentation or fraud in the H-1B registration process, several rules have been tightened, including:

  1. Single Registration per Beneficiary: An employer may submit only one registration per beneficiary per fiscal year, extending the rule from H-1B petitions to H-1B cap registrations.
  2. H-1B Petition Approval: USCIS may deny or revoke an H-1B petition if the cap registration fee is invalid or disputed.
  3. Denial or Revocation Authority: USCIS can deny or revoke an H petition if any related documents, including H-1B registration, Labor Condition Application (LCA), or temporary labor certification, contain inaccurate or false information.

The proposed ban on related entities filing registrations for the same foreign national in the same fiscal year has not been finalized but remains under consideration for future rulemaking.

Pending Modernization Provisions

While this final rule addresses some aspects of the H-1B modernization proposal, USCIS plans to issue subsequent rules covering the remaining elements in the future. These may include alterations to the definitions of H-1B specialty occupation, the employer-employee relationship, what is considered bona fide H-1B employment, and cap-gap protection changes, among others.

Implications for Employers and Foreign Nationals

DHS emphasizes the prevention of H-1B cap registration system misuse, making it crucial for employers to collaborate closely with prospective FY 2025 H-1B cap beneficiaries. Ensuring your H-1B candidates have valid passports or travel documents and understanding the new beneficiary-centric system parameters is vital.

Although USCIS has announced key dates and the organizational account system's go-live date, additional information on FY 2025 H-1B cap changes is expected to be released in the coming weeks. Employers and foreign nationals are encouraged to stay informed and adapt to these evolving immigration procedures.

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Robert Wees
U.S. Immigration CounselRobert Wees
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