USCIS Proposes Significant Increases in H-1B Fees; Announces Lottery Registration Dates
On January 27, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced the FY 2024 H-1B CAP Lottery registration would be open from March 1 to March 17, 2023. Registrants will be able to create new accounts beginning February 17, however, registrants and attorney representatives must wait until March 1 at noon to enter H-1B registrations. The registration period closes at noon on March 17; USCIS expects to announce selections by March 31, 2023. You can read more about this here.
Additionally, on January 4, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed increases in certain fees for immigration and naturalization requests. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) would significantly increase fees for employers who file H-1B petitions and permanent residency.
If the proposal is adopted, H-1B Visas (Skilled/Specialty Occupation Workers) fees would increase from $460 to $780 per visa. There will also be a $215 H-1B registration fee, up from the original $10 fee. In addition to those fees, the proposal would include a new $600 asylum program fee for each Form I-129 (non-immigrant worker) or I-140 (immigrant petition).
Employers would pay the $600 fee for every I-129 petition filed, including for a new petition, an extension, or a change of status. The new fee is intended to cover some of the costs of processing asylum claims; currently there are no fees for asylum petitions. In total, fees (not including premium processing) for an H-1B visa would increase from $470 to $1595 (a 239% increase).
According to USCIS , “the new fees would allow USCIS to more fully recover its operating costs, reestablish and maintain timely case processing, and prevent the accumulation of future case backlogs. USCIS receives approximately 96 percent of its funding from filing fees, not from congressional appropriations.”
TechServe will be evaluating the NPRM and will consider filing comments which are due March 6, 2023.
We will also be sharing concerns with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy which has asked for input on the increased fees. Additionally, we are working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others in the business community on these issues.
USCIS Updates Long-Term Goals in New Strategic Plan
On January 27, 2023, USCIS released its updated Strategic Plan; long-term goals focus on (1) strengthening the U.S. immigration system; (2) investing in the USCIS workforce; and (3) promoting effective and efficient management and stewardship. The Biden Administration’s USCIS leadership promises to remove barriers and obstacles to legal immigration. To accomplish this goal, USCIS is reviewing and plans to update regulations that ‘restore and strengthen the family and employment-based immigration.” A notice of proposed rulemaking on H-1B program changes is expected in October 2023. USCIS will also review regulations to improve the intake, processing, and adjudication of benefit requests and expand public engagement opportunities. For more information on employment-based immigration, review the USCIS Strategic Plan.
USCIS Redesigned Green Card and Employment Authorization Document
On January 30, 2023, the USCIS announced the agency had redesigned the Green Card and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to provide enhanced security. The new card and documents would be available beginning January 30, 2023.
You can find further discussion of these fee increases in the following articles:
- JD Supra, “USCIS Proposes Rule to Increase Certain Immigration Fees ,” January 20, 2023
- Forbes, “Business Immigration Fees to Soar Under USCIS Proposed Rule, ” January 4, 2023
Please contact the TechServe Alliance Government Affairs Team with your questions or concerns.