United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on November 7 announced a $10 hike in its H-1B work visa application fee as part of its revised selection process.
The non-refundable fee will support the new electronic registration system to make the H-1B cap selection process more efficient and effective for both petitioners and the federal agency, USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said.
“The electronic registration system is part of an agency-wide initiative to modernise our immigration system while deterring fraud, improving vetting procedures and strengthening program integrity,” he added.
The USCIS will implement the registration process for the FY21 H-1B cap selection process, pending completed testing of the system. Announcement on the implementation timeframe and initial registration period in the federal register is expected once a formal decision is made.
The USCIS will offer ample notice to the public in advance of implementing the registration requirement. It had on September 4 published a notice for the proposed registration fee, with a 30-day public comment period.
The USCIS received only 22 comments during that time, and considered all submissions and offered public responses ahead of announcing the final rule, which is effective on December 9.
The H-1B program allows US companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialised knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty or its equivalent.
Upon implementation of the electronic registration system, petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, will first have to electronically register with the USCIS during a designated registration period, unless the requirement is suspended, the USCIS said.