7 Tips for the 2020 H-1B Cap Season

While immigration – or more specifically, President Trump’s “wall” – dominates the first full week for the newly elected Congress, the next few months should see immigration in the forefront of national discourse. Immediately, we can expect debate to continue as the majority Democrat House of Representatives spar with President Trump over funding for his proposed border wall.

But as we move past the federal government shutdown, we will be watching how the Trump administration’s November 2018 H-1B reform proposal plays out. Hallmarks of the proposal include:

  • Changing the order in the lottery, so the lottery for college graduates and advanced degree holders is held before the lottery held exclusively for advanced degree holders.
  • Modernizing the registration system to an online process.

These changes might seem small but would presumably come with growing pains. Coupled with increases in Request for Evidence (RFE) filings from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is vital to start planning for the 2020 H-1B Cap Season now.

Top 7 Tips for the 2020 H-1B Cap Season:

Ensure that the candidate for the position requires sponsorship by your organization to continue or begin working in the United States.

The H-1B visa is a popular choice for many occupations because it a dual intent visa – meaning the visa holder can live and work in the US while also seeking lawful permanent resident status. Due to its popularity, the demand for the visa outpaces the supply. If you have found the ideal candidate for a position and would like to sponsor on an H-1B, it is wise to have a contingency plan in place in the event your candidate is not chosen in the H-1B lottery.

Review your prior recruitment and hiring for the offered position and ensure that you have a history of requiring a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field for entry into the offered position.

USCIS will review your hiring history for similar positions as part of your application.

Review the Occupational Outlook Handbook for potential “matches” between the offered position at your organization and the job codes in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).

Review the requirements considered by the Government for these positions – do they require a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field normally for this type of position?

Compare similar occupational listing on job boards at similar companies to determine what the industry “norm” for education and experience is considered for the position offered.

The H-1B visa is for highly skilled workers in specialty occupations – make sure you can show both of these dynamics in your application.

Review the Department of Labor’s appropriate wage information.

USCIS wants to make sure employers are not using foreign labor to undercut wages for American workers. You can access the appropriate wages for the OOH position occupational code and your metropolitan statistical area, and cross-reference this against your wage range for the occupation within your organization to determine are you using the prevailing wage or actual wage for the position – whichever is higher.

Ensure you have a detailed job description for this position at your company that includes specific duties detailing the position’s impact on the company, role in the company’s hierarchy, and importance within the overall goals and mission of the organization.

A well-prepared application will show how the position specifically impacts your product, services, or bottom line, and why the candidate is ideally suited for the position.

Contact FordMurray with questions on occupations, wages, timing, and other H-1B cap issues.

The deadline for filing must take place on April 1, so planning needs to begin in January and February to properly prepare the cases in time for hitting the USCIS deadline.