DHS is proposing to amend its regulations by bringing in a fee requirement for each registration submitted for the H–1B Fiscal Year petition. DHS is proposing a fee of $10 per registration to recover the operating costs that would be involved in building, operating and maintaining the newly proposed registration system. The registration requirement was established to provide efficiency savings to both USCIS and H–1B cap-subject petitioners associated with the current paper-based petitioning process.
The pre-registration rule proposed on January 31, 2019 required petitioners seeking H-1B cap-subject petitions, to first electronically register with USCIS during the designated registration period. DHS is proposing to include a registration fee of $10 for each registration submitted to register. USCIS is a self- funded organization and all the fees are primarily collected from the Immigration fees associated with each petition.
The H1B Registration rule aimed at bringing significant efficiency and cost savings when comparing an electronic registration process relative to the current paper filing process. The H-1B Registration system will not be a totally separate system but it would be a platform that supports the other existing USCIS functions. The registration program will require USCIS to incur certain costs and burdens for iterative development, correcting problems, handling help desk calls, and adding or maintaining infrastructure.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE RULE
▪ USCIS will have to expend about $1.5 million on the initial development of the registration website;
▪ DHS believes that the proposed registration fee would not influence the decision making of potential petitioners nor professes as cost prohibitive initiative;
▪ H–1B registration rule estimated an average undiscounted cost savings for all unselected petitioners ranging from $42.7 million to $66.8 million annually, depending on petitioners. The proposed $10 registration fee requirement would impose annual costs to registrants ranging from $2.3 million to $2.6 million depending on the number of petitioners;
▪ According to DHS, the total costs to petitioners for each registration would range from $15.63 to $30.80 for a registration, depending on who the petitioner uses to submit the registration.
▪ Also, the proposed $10 registration fee would result in a marginal increase in costs for selected petitioners, and that the costs for such petitioners would range in between $8.5 million to $12.9 million, depending on the petitioner;
▪ USCIS lacks data to estimate reoccurring costs associated with employee salaries, benefits and training, hardware updates, and software maintenance. Therefore, $10 fee would provide revenue to mitigate potential fiscal impact on USCIS;
▪ DHS estimated that the proposed $10 fee would generate $1,929,180 in revenue based on estimated H-1B cap-subject petitions annually and would help them avoid funding the process with other IEFA fee revenue. They believe that proposing small fee is better than funding the reoccurring costs with revenue from other fees.
The registration requirement for H-1B Fiscal year petitions would be implemented and reviewed over the coming years, and if the proposed registration fee gets finalized, DHS would consider the costs associated with the registration system as required during biennial fee reviews and adjust the registration fee accordingly via notice-and-comment rule-making to the public. With USCIS aiming to fully implement the H–1B registration process for Fiscal year 2021, they also intend for the fee proposed in this rule to be in place before the FY 2021. A 30-day Public comment period until October 4, 2019 is open for this proposed rule.
SIGN UP FOR GLF NEWSLETTER
At GLF will continue to follow further developments in this matter and we will provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available.
GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day asking for comment on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advice clients on important updates that are relevant. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters. We encourage you (and your employees) to sign up for GLF Newsletter. If you are not already signed up to receive our Newsletters, please do so by visiting www.gokarelaw.com and signing up under the Newsletter Tab. All we need is your name and email address and it takes very little time to sign up. You can also review all of our earlier GLF Newsletters on our website.