(CTN News) – H-1B visa applications for fiscal year 2025 will start on March 6, according to a US federal agency. The announcement comes along with a significant redesign of the annual lottery.
A H-1B visa lets US companies hire foreign workers in speciality occupations that need theoretical or technical skills. Tens of thousands of tech companies hire from countries like India and China every year thanks to it.
Here are 10 things to know
- The H-1B cap is open for registration at noon Eastern on March 6, and runs until March 22 for fiscal 2025. Prospective petitioners and their advocates, if any, have to use a USCIS online account and pay a registration fee for each beneficiary during this time to register them electronically.
- Starting February 28, companies can open their own account and start and finish the registration process.
- Starting with fiscal 2025, which starts on October 1, 2024, USCIS will require registrants to submit passport or travel document information for each beneficiary.
- The beneficiary must provide the passport or travel document they intend to use to enter the United States if granted an H-1B visa. Each beneficiary can use only one passport or travel document at a time.
- Employers can register using a beneficiary-centric selection process in the new system.
- H-1B visa applications wouldn’t be counted and accepted by an individual anymore, like they used to when multiple applications by the same person would result in abuse or fraud of the system. On the basis of their personal credentials like passport numbers, one individual would be counted as one application even if they applied for multiple companies.
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have announced new rules aimed at reducing fraud and strengthening the integrity of the H-1B registration process.
- According to the federal agency, this includes reducing the potential for gaming the registration each beneficiary has the same chance of being selected regardless of how many registrations are submitted on their behalf.
- Among the things in this final rule, USCIS says, is that it’s going to create a beneficiary-centric registration process for employers, codify start dates flexibility for petitions subject to the H-1B cap, and add more integrity measures to the registration process.
- Aside from that, the H-1B final rule formalizes USCIS’s power to reject or cancel H-1B petitions based on void or fraudulent registrations. If USCIS finds that the registration fee was rejected, not reconciled, contested, or otherwise illegal after the petition was submitted, they can deny or revoke its approval of an H-1B petition.
Separately, the US launched a pilot programme on 29 January for renewing the highly sought-after H-1B visas domestically, a move that’s likely to help thousands of Indian techies.