DHS/USCIS Updates on H-1B Visa Program and Stakeholder Engagement
Reminder: USCIS Invites Stakeholders to February 24 Webinar on H-1B Visa Registration Process
In advance of the March 1, 2022 opening of the FY 2023 H-1B cap initial registration period, USCIS will host a stakeholder webinar to discuss updates to the online account portal and answer questions.
USCIS reminds stakeholders that “H-1B cap-subject prospective petitioners, including those seeking to file a petition for a beneficiary eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically submit a registration for each beneficiary on whose behalf they seek to file an H-1B cap-subject petition, unless USCIS suspends the registration requirement. A prospective petitioner whose registration is selected is then eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in their selected registration during the associated filing period.
To submit H-1B registrations online, prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives must first visit my.uscis.gov to create a free USCIS online account.”
To register for the February 24 webinar, use this link to the USCIS website and follow these steps: enter your email to subscribe to updates; select subscriber preferences and complete the questions and final prompts. USCIS will send an email confirming your subscription to the session, with additional information forthcoming. If you are already registered to receive updates, entering your email will automatically subscribe to this session and you will immediately receive a confirmation. TechServe Governmental Affairs Team will provide an update after the session outlining significant changes to the system.
USCIS Invites Stakeholders to March 2 Listening Session on Processing Times
On March 2, 2022, USCIS will hold a stakeholder listening session on processing times. The invitation states that this session will narrowly focus on how processing times are displayed on the USCIS website.
USCIS asks for input on the following topics:
- Feedback on the current Processing Times Webpage
- Feedback on related Processing Times Webpages, such as the additional information the Case Processing Times Webpage and the Historical Processing Times Webpage
- Suggestions for improving how we communicate processing times
- General feedback
USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou on February 2 told stakeholders that regardless of the benefit applied for, “every single applicant who seeks a benefit from USCIS is entitled to a timely decision. USCIS . . . [is] taking important steps to ensure that we are addressing case processing times in a meaningful way. . . “
To register for the March 2 session, visit the USCIS website and follow these steps: enter your email to subscribe to updates; select subscriber preferences and complete the questions and final prompts. USCIS will send an email confirming your subscription to the session, with additional information forthcoming. If you are already registered to receive updates, entering your email will automatically subscribe to this session and you will immediately receive a confirmation. TechServe Governmental Affairs Team will listen to the session and report back. In the meantime, member companies can let us know about any specific questions or concerns.
USCIS Announces New Mission Statement, Restores Welcoming Service-Oriented Focus
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on February 9, 2022, announced its latest mission statement, one that restores the service focus which was removed during the Trump Administration. The announcement follows USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou’s February 2, 2022 stakeholder briefing on the anniversary of the Biden Administration Executive Orders to restore faith in the U.S. immigration system.
USCIS Mission: USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.
Director Jaddou issued a statement with the announcement:
“At its core, USCIS is about delivering decisions to families, businesses, workers, and those seeking refuge in our country on their applications, petitions, requests, and appeals. This new mission statement reflects the inclusive character of both our country and this agency. The United States is and will remain a welcoming nation that embraces people from across the world who seek family reunification, employment or professional opportunities, and humanitarian protection.”
The Trump Administration changed USCIS’s mission to a homeland security role which resulted in extraordinarily high rates of H-1B visa denials and a string of proposed rulemaking intended to restrict immigration, including non-immigrant employment visas.
The previous administration’s regulatory actions were overturned by courts or rescinded by the Biden Administration. Since 2021, denial rates have plummeted to pre-2016 levels.
USCIS’s new mission statement reflects what employers have experienced over the past year with the restoration of relatively low rates of H-1B visa denial rates. TechServe members are encouraged to share with our Government Affairs Team recent company experiences with H-1B visa processing as well as attend USCIS’s upcoming listening session.
The Hill, “Immigration Agency Reverses Trump-era Changes to its Mission Statement,” February 9, 2022
Forbes, “H-1B Visa Denial Rates Plunge After Trump Administration Policies End,” January 12, 2022