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Immigration News

Proposed Foreign VISA Registration System Reduces Costs for Employers

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is publishing tomorrow a proposed rule that could save U.S. businesses more than $23 million over the next 10 years by establishing an advance registration process for U.S. employers seeking to file H-1B petitions for foreign workers in specialty occupations. The proposed electronic system would minimize administrative burdens and expenses related to the H-1B petition process—including reducing the need for employers to submit petitions for which visas would not be available under the statutory visa cap.

USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced the opening of a 60-day comment period that will allow businesses and the general public to provide input on the proposed system in order to ensure it best meets the needs of employers that rely on H-1B visas to bring in foreign workers for specialty occupations.

“The proposed rule would create a more efficient and cost-effective process for businesses interested in bringing workers in specialty occupations to the United States,” he said. “Improving the H-1B petition process is part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to leverage new ideas and innovation to streamline our operations and enhance customer service.”

Under the proposed rule, employers seeking to petition for H-1B workers subject to the statutory cap would register electronically with USCIS—a process that would take an estimated 30 minutes to complete. Before the petition filing period begins, USCIS would select the number of registrations predicted to exhaust all available visas. Employers would then file petitions only for the selected registrations. The registration system would save employers the effort and expense of filing H-1B petitions, as well as Labor Condition Applications, for workers who would be unable to obtain visas under the statutory cap.

The proposed rule, which posted to the Federal Register today for public viewing, contains complete details about the registration system and estimated cost savings. USCIS encourages formal comments on the proposed rule through www.regulations.gov. The comment period runs for 60 days, beginning March 3, 2011, and ending on May 2, 2011.