USCIS is introducing amendments to the H-1B registration selection process, aiming to enhance transparency, fairness, and integrity. This comprehensive rule, codified as part of 8 CFR 214.2(h), introduces a beneficiary-centric selection process, provides flexibility for certain H-1B cap-subject petitions, and implements integrity measures to ensure the authenticity of registrations.

Beneficiary-Centric Selection Process: One of the key changes is the shift to a beneficiary-centric selection process for H-1B registrations. Instead of selecting registrations, USCIS will now select registrations by unique beneficiary. This means that each beneficiary, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf, will be entered into the selection process once. The move aims to eliminate potential gaming of the system and equalize the chances of selection for all beneficiaries. If a beneficiary is selected, all registrants who submitted a registration on their behalf will be notified, allowing them to file a petition during the applicable filing period.

Start Date Flexibility: The rule introduces start date flexibility for certain H-1B cap-subject petitions. DHS is clarifying the requirements for the requested employment start date, allowing filing with requested start dates after October 1 of the relevant fiscal year. This change aligns with current USCIS policy and provides employers and beneficiaries with increased flexibility in aligning the start date with specific business needs or beneficiary availability.

Integrity Measures: To enhance the integrity of the H-1B registration process, the rule implements various measures. Registrations are now required to include the beneficiary’s valid passport information or valid travel document information. Moreover, a beneficiary may only be registered under one passport or travel document. USCIS is empowered to deny or revoke H-1B petitions if there is a change in the beneficiary’s identifying information, if the registration contained false attestations, if the registration fee was invalid, or if the petition was not based on a valid registration (new 8 CFR 214.2(h)(8)(iii)(A) and (D)).

Denial and Revocation Authority: The rule further codifies USCIS’s authority to deny H-1B petitions where statements on the petition, H-1B registration, Labor Condition Application (LCA), or H-2B Labor Certification are inaccurate, fraudulent, or misrepresent a material fact. To ensure consistency, any H-1B petition must contain and be supported by the same identifying information provided in the selected registration. Petitioners must submit evidence of the passport or travel document used at the time of registration.

Multiple Registrations by Related Entities: The rule opts not to finalize the proposed change prohibiting related entities from submitting multiple registrations for the same individual. DHS may include this provision in a subsequent final rule. However, the submission of multiple registrations by related entities should not impact the selection process significantly due to the shift to a beneficiary-centric selection process.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the DHS’s amendments to H-1B regulations represent a comprehensive effort to improve the registration selection process, provide flexibility for certain petitions, and enhance integrity measures. The beneficiary-centric approach seeks to ensure fairness and reduce the likelihood of gaming the system, while flexibility in start dates accommodates the dynamic needs of employers and beneficiaries. The integrity measures aim to maintain the authenticity of registrations and petitions, preventing fraudulent practices. Overall, these changes mark a significant step towards creating a more efficient, fair, and secure H-1B program.