Authored by Diane E. Metzger
Jan 19, 2016
Looking for a lottery with greater societal impact and better chances than the Powerball? It’s the H-1B visa lottery, and on April 1st many high-skilled foreign nationals will be dreaming of their chance to be selected to receive one of the 85,000 H-1B work visas available for this government fiscal year.
Unlike Powerball, there are ways to improve the odds of winning one of this year’s coveted 85,000 H-1B work visas. If you are an employer of foreign nationals in F-1, TN, L-1 or other visa statuses, or if you wish to hire a foreign national currently working abroad, here are some tips on how to improve your chances this H-1 cap season:
Now, back to the numbers. What are the chances of obtaining an H-1B visa for your high-skilled worker? Definitely better than the Powerball. However, the reality is that in the past few years, more H-1B cap applications have been received than there are visas available, thus triggering the “H-1B Lottery,” an automated computerized matrix system employed by USCIS to randomly select a sufficient number of receipted H-1B petitions to fill the fiscal year’s visa quota.
Last year, USCIS received nearly 233,000 H-1B cap petitions, each vying for one of the 85,000 coveted H-1B visa slots available. It is anticipated that this year will once again produce a very high number of H-1B cap filings, so an H-1B Lottery for this year is a safe bet.
Despite the increase in filings, the odds of receiving an H-1B visa are often still high enough to justify an employer’s efforts for the chance to keep or retain a high-skilled employee. But just like the lottery, if you don’t play you can’t win…and if you don’t file on time, you will not even get a chance to receive this very important work visa. Since the price of not playing in this “lottery” may cost employers the opportunity to employ a key worker, employers who are considering sponsoring an employee for an H-1B visa should take immediate action to ensure that any necessary H-1B cap applications can be timely and properly prepared and filed.
If you have any questions about H-1B visas or any other business immigration matter, please feel free to contact Diane Metzger.