US to charge $10 for every H-1B registration from December

The United States will charge employers a fee of $10 to register every foreign worker they plan to propose for H-1B visas starting December 9, when it plans to switch to an electronic registration system.


The new system will require employers to register their proposed H-1B beneficiaries to qualify them for the electronic lottery used to pick the 85,000 visas the United States grants every year to highly skilled foreigners — 65,000 hired abroad and 20,000 from among foreigners pursuing advanced degree studies in US colleges and universities.

Employers will file full and exhaustive petitions only for selected candidates, and not at the start of the process as it works now. The new system is intended to make the process more efficient and less time-taking.

“This effort will help implement a more efficient and effective H-1B cap selection process,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “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.”

The plan was to switch to this system in 2018 for the 2019 H-1B season, but preparations took longer than foreseen. The USCIS now wants to start on December 9 for the 2020 season.

The non-refundable fee will be required to be submitted at the time a registration is submitted. It is over and above the H-1B visa fee, which is upwards of the basic $460, that is supposed to be paid with the application, in this instance, for beneficiaries that cleared the lottery.

US-based subsidiaries of Indian IT services companies Infosys, TCS, Wipro and Tech Mahindra are among the top users of H-1B visas, along with America’s Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Google. And more than 70% of these visas go to Indians, hired by both Indian and US companies.