U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a rule change that requires each H-1B petitioning employer to pay a $10 filing fee for every electronic registration submitted to the agency for each H-1B worker who is to be counted in the H-1B cap selection. H-1B petitioning employers whose foreign national beneficiary qualifies for the advanced degree exemption will also be required to pay the registration fee.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice announcing the proposed registration fee in the Federal Register on September 4, 2019, and the public can submit written comments until October 4, 2019. USCIS plans to finalize the rule once the comment period concludes.
The comment period for the proposed rule is limited to 30 days. The DHS seeks to establish the fee requirement before it implements the new electronic registration system. The system could be launched as soon as the fiscal year 2021 cap season, which commences in April, 2020.
The DHS justified the fee by saying that it will help the department recover the increased expenses associated with processing H-1B applications due to the new H-1B rule that was finalized earlier in 2019. The department anticipated the proposed fee to yield $1,929,180 in revenue.
While USCIS anticipates the H-1B registration process to result in considerable annual cost savings of $1.6 million for the government, the $10 fee was proposed with the goal of recovering its one-time investment in the initial development of the registration system.