The H1B Visa program, a popular avenue for those looking to work in the U.S., has been under scrutiny due to certain individuals exploiting system vulnerabilities, like registering multiple times to increase lottery chances.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS have been looking to update and plug these gaps. They've released a draft rule that addresses these concerns, and we're here to break it down for you.
H1B Visa Lottery:
The lottery will now be based on unique passport numbers, preventing multiple registrations by a single individual.
This change aims to deter fraudulent entries and level the playing field.
F1 Cap Gap:
The gap, which currently extends only until October 1st, will be pushed to April 1st of the next year, accommodating the delay in decisions.
Entrepreneurs can now self-sponsor if they own 50% or more of a company and meet specific criteria.
The definition will be narrower, focusing on job duties rather than just requiring a general degree.
No longer voluntary; failure to cooperate might lead to petition denial or revocation.
Approval Dates & Document Validity:
In case of delays, approval dates may be extended, and additional documents requested.
More flexibility on how much time is spent under cap-exempt entities, and a redefinition of 'non-profit' for better clarity.
H1B Start Date:
Employers can choose any start date within the fiscal year for new petitions.
Many practices, such as amendments, maintenance of status documents, and third-party placements, are now formally codified.
Starting October 23rd, 2023, there's a 60-day window for the public to provide feedback on these proposed changes. The last submission date is December 22nd, 2023.
Note: Nothing is final yet, so it's essential to stay updated.
When will the changes be effective?
Exact dates are uncertain as DHS is still in the NPRM stage.
Will the H1B Lottery Selection based on Passport number start for FY 2025?
While DHS intends for it to start by FY 2025, it's not confirmed.
Any changes for H4 Visa holders?
No, this proposal primarily concerns H1B visa holders.
Will these changes help curb fraud?
The primary goal is to reduce fraud, especially with rules around the H1B Lottery. The effectiveness will become clearer over time.