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What will happen with the H-1B lottery process overhaul?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | H-1B

The H-1B visa, a critical path for skilled professionals aiming to work in the United States, underwent significant changes this year that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) argues will increase the integrity of the H-1B lottery system and preserve fairness among the many applicants vying for a limited number of H-1B visas.

In years past, the lottery process functioned by selecting registrations submitted by hopeful H-1B employers. Applicants for whom multiple registrations were submitted had increased chances of being selected in the lottery. This year, the selections are made by unique beneficiary instead of by registration, using the beneficiary’s passport or travel document. By implementing this change, USCIS asserts that it “reduce[d] the potential for gaming the registration system.”

At the end of the day, while the changes made this year to the H-1B system address some issues with the functionality of the lottery process, the United States immigration system remains vastly insufficient for the needs of the nation’s employers. In Fiscal Year 2024, there were just 188,400 selections out of a pool of 758,994 eligible H-1B registrations. If we assume that each eligible registration represents the need for one worker with a specialized set of skills, it is easy to see how the annual cap on H-1B issuance prevents the U.S. from retaining the best and brightest specialized workers and impedes U.S. competitiveness across industries.

If you are interested in applying for an H-1B visa for your employee, it is critical to work with an experienced immigration lawyer who can help you navigate the functional and legal challenges of navigating the lottery system and application process.

Furthermore, if you are one of the many H-1B hopefuls who is not selected in the existing limited lottery system, you may not be out of options. David Hirson & Partners LLP is happy to recommend other employment-based immigration options based on your qualifications and professional experience. Call us today to schedule a consultation.