How will the proposed rule to amend H-1B regulations impact F-1 students and the H-1B registration selection process?

student walking out of building

The October 2023 USCIS proposed rule to amend H-1B regulations has several changes. Two of the most interesting changes are as follows:

F-1 Students on Occupation Practical Training (OPT):

Under the current regulations, the H-1B Cap Gap provision allows for continued F-1 status and work authorization until October 1st. However, in many H-1B cases, adjudication will exceed beyond the ideal October 1st H-1B start date. Many students have been trapped in position of being able to remain in the U.S. while the H-1B Petition is pending, but not authorized to work.

The proposed changes would automatically extend F-1 status and work authorization until April 1st of the following year. This would permit the F-1 Student to continue with their work under OPT while the H-1B Cap Petition is pending.

H-1B Registration Selection Process:

Presently, the H-1B Registration System permits beneficiaries to solicit multiple petitioners in an effort to increase their odds of being selected.

For example, Mr. Smith, requests Company A, Company B, and Company C, to file an H-1B Registration for him. Through the registration process, Company B and Company C are selected for the beneficiary. Two H-1B numbers are used. Both Company B and Company C have a right and incentive to file an H-1B for the same beneficiary.

The proposed rule would still allow multiple employers to file registrations for a single individual, but the multiple entries would not provide a benefit over an individual had only one employer file a registration for them. Therefore, if the individual is selected and more than one employer has filed a registration for them, they must select which employer to proceed with in filing the H-1B Petition.

Changing the registration selection process to be based on the individual will help, but it does not solve the problem that there remains an insufficient number of visas for the current demand. Other problems such as individuals with multiple passports and the impact to stateless individuals without passports are noted in the proposed rules changes.

If there have been recent proposed rule changes, always look for official announcements and updates from the USCIS or other relevant government agencies to understand the specific implications for F-1 students and the H-1B registration selection process.

Keep in mind that immigration policies can be complex, and it's advisable to consult with our Immigration Team for the most accurate and up-to-date information on how any proposed rule changes may impact your company and international staff.