USCIS Confirms Changes to H1B Program in 2024
The H-1B visa program, which allows skilled international workers to work in the US, is undergoing significant changes for the fiscal year 2025 (FY 2025).
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a Final Rule, implementing new measures that will revise the current H1B lottery system and that are designed to strengthen the program’s ‘integrity’ and reduce abuse of the route.
Revised H1B lottery rules
Under the new rules, a revised lottery system will assign each registered beneficiary one unique identification number, preventing duplicate registrations and ensuring all individuals have an equal chance of selection.
A new, online “organizational account” system is also going live on February 28, 2024 ahead of this March’s H-1B registration process. Organizational accounts will allow petitioning employers and legal representatives to create, review, and submit H-1B lottery registrations, H-1B petitions, and premium processing forms, entirely online.
H1B employment start date flexibility
Employers can now petition for H-1B visas with start dates up to 90 days before the beneficiary’s authorized stay expires, offering greater flexibility in employment planning. This is a change from the current requirement for employment to commence on October 1 of the same fiscal year.
USCIS has implemented additional verification measures to combat fraud, including compliance site visits to employers and enhanced scrutiny of petition documentation.
Implications for H1B sponsors
These program integrity measures present both opportunities and challenges for employers.
The beneficiary-centric lottery system may provide a fairer chance of selection for qualified candidates.
However, increased scrutiny by USCIS should necessitate enhanced efforts to ensure accurate and thorough documentation is filed throughout the petitioning process.
The additional verification measures may also lead to longer processing times, requiring employers to plan accordingly.
NNU Immigration can help
NNU Immigration are specialist US immigration attorneys. We work with employers recruiting through the H-1B visa route, advising on all aspects of the eligibility and process requirements.
If you have a question about the changes to the H-1B program, speak to our experts.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.