TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts last Wednesday submitted comments opposing proposed changes to federal regulations that could affect the upcoming H-1B visa lottery and many IT and engineering staffing firms.

“TechServe Alliance urges USCIS to extend the comment period for at least 60 days and delay any changes to the registration and selection process until the following year at the earliest,” Roberts said. “Significant, last-minute, untested changes to the H-1B visa lottery have the potential to jeopardize the availability of scarce technical talent and could result in companies cancelling US based projects and sending the work offshore.”

On Dec. 3, 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security proposed a pre-H-1B lottery electronic registration system that aims to streamline the H-1B visa process and change the H-1B visa lottery selection process. TechServe, which serves as the national trade association of the IT and engineering staffing and solution industry, opposed a 2011 draft rule that had some similar elements; that proposed rule was never finalized.

“TechServe strongly endorses the goal of modernizing and streamlining the H-1B visa application process,” Roberts wrote in his letter to Samantha Deshommes, chief, regulatory coordination division, office of policy and strategy, at US Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, he identified several concerns with the 2018 Proposed Rule, including: potentially limiting access to the H-1B visa program for small IT staffing firms; unanswered questions about the electronic registration process; and insufficient analysis of the impact of the new selection process, which could result in unintended consequences.