Covid-19 has changed the rules for travel, engagement and employment.  Many companies have started to reduce wages and put staff on leave, and some companies have terminated employees.

If your company filed an H-1B registration for a foreign national and your registration was selected in the H-1B lottery, you may now be asking whether you are required to file an H-1B petition for the employee given the Corona virus outbreak and its impact on the global economy. You may also be wondering whether there are any risks if your company does not file the H-1B petition. Please note that all H-1B petitions have to be received by USCIS by June 30, 2020

Am I required to file an H-1B petition and sponsor the H-1B employee if the registration was selected in the lottery?

At the time of submitting the H-1B registration, the authorized signatory of the company was required to certify that the company intends to file an H-1B petition on the employee’s behalf. If the company was planning to sponsor the employee at the time the registration was submitted, but is now not able to sponsor and hire the employee due to the corona virus outbreak and its impact on global economy, it is fine if you do not file the H-1B petition.

Should I inform USCIS that I will not be filing the H-1B petition?

No. There is no need to inform USCIS that you are not planning to file the H-1B petition for the employee. However, you should retain documentation evidencing the reason that you chose not to file the H-1B petition and present it to USCIS in case you are ever questioned.

For example, if the revenue of your company has declined significantly due to the corona virus outbreak/you were forced to close your business, and/or you were forced to lay off some/all of your employees that could be a sufficient explanation as to why you were not able to sponsor the H-1B employee.

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