The COVID-19 has caused some disruptions in the immigration services and proceedings in the US through 2020-21. Despite the distraction of Omicron in early 2022, H-1B applicants, sponsors and attorneys, need to be prepared for the upcoming H-1B lottery season. Here’s a brief on the Lottery process and how the lottery works that could help you better prepare.
Revised Process in Brief
Number of H1B visas issued each year
- The maximum number of H1B visas that can be made available on an annual basis is 65,000 under the regular cap, with an additional 20,000 visas available to applicants holding a Masters’ degree.
- 6,800 out of the regular quota are also reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore as part of a specific Free Trade Agreement.
How the Lottery works
- The regular cap lottery will be conducted first, followed by the U.S. master’s cap lottery. The new drawing order is said to give individuals with a U.S. master’s degree a higher chance of being selected.
- The number of annual registrations made during the registration window typically is far more than the annual cap level and the number of available visas.
- The window remains open to registrations for the full stated period, even after the cap has been exceeded. Selection is not on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Once the window is closed, USCIS carries out the H-1B visa lottery to identify which registrations will be invited to the next stage. This is a random selection process of registrations received during the window, neither determined by when the registration was submitted nor by assessing the merits of the registration.
- Once the 65,000 H1B cap has been filed, 20,000 petitions will be randomly selected from the master’s Cap petitions. Any of the 20,000 that are not selected will go back into the regular cap.
- Successful registrations are then notified and invited to submit their full H-1B petition within the specified deadline, which is usually 90 days from notification.
- Remember that selection in the visa lottery does not guarantee the visa will be granted. The petition will be assessed based on visa requirements and eligibility criteria.
If you are filing on behalf of the petitioner, make sure you have organized all applicant details and are ready to register when the lottery window opens in March. Make sure the job position qualifies as a specialty occupation and your applicants are qualified to do it, with at least a bachelor’s degree.
Are you looking for an easier way to make the H1B process simpler and less time consuming? Are you looking at sourcing better candidates for sponsorship this year? To know answers to these questions and more, please contact email@example.com.