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My name is Pallavi Ahluwalia and I am an immigration attorney in Dallas, TX.
We are a small employment based firm and we represent physicians, dental practices, technology firms, and manufacturing companies. many of our petitioners are first time users of the H1B program, who want to sponsor their talented and essential member of team, working with them on OPT.
I respectfully submit this comment in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), “Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H-1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens.” The following comments are limited to the timing of the H-1B registration system, although I reserve the right to submit additional comments on other aspects of this NPRM prior to the January 2, 2019 deadline.
In the preamble to the NPRM, USCIS explains the challenges associated with the current H-1B selection process and touts the benefits of transitioning to an electronic filing system. Although if done properly, an electronic filing system could certainly improve a process that is far from perfect, there are simply too many questions presented within the NPRM to justify rushing implementation of such a system over the finish line in order to accommodate FY 2020 H-1B cap filings, which will begin on April 1, 2019. In addition, most employers will not realize any cost savings associated with an electronic registration system for FY 2020 cap-subject petitions, as work to prepare and file those petitions under the current system has already commenced in most cases.
I expect to file 300 cases this upcoming 2020 CAP season and cannot advise the petitioners properly with the regulation still not formalized.
In the preamble to the proposed rules, USCIS acknowledges that implementing a registration system for the FY 2020 H-1B cap season might be contrary to ensuring “orderly and appropriate administration of the H-1B allocations.” The implementation of a new registration system is a major undertaking, requiring extensive planning and beta-testing to ensure that its roll-out is as seamless as possible. For this reason, I ask that USCIS suspend implementation of the H-1B registration process until at least the FY 2021 H-1B cap season (which will commence on April 1, 2020) or until such time that a comprehensive, completely functional system that has been thoroughly beta-tested can be rolled-out.
I also ask that USCIS immediately make an announcement to this effect, to provide U.S. employers with adequate clarity and assurances regarding the process that will commence in only a few short months.