This fiscal year (ending September 30, 2023), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received 483,927 H1-B cap registrations, representing a 57 per cent increase over the fiscal 2022 filing season. USCIS has chosen 127,600 registrations (26 per cent of total registrations received) to satisfy the H-1B limit — different factors such as the sponsoring company not following through with the actual filing process for the visa, as well as the likelihood of visa denial, are taken into account.
According to immigration law firm Berry Appleman & Leiden, USCIS selected much more registrations in the initial lottery than it did last year, when it selected 87,500 registrations and then held two more lotteries. The yearly H-1B limit visa quota is 85,000 (this includes 20,000 visas issued under the Masters’ ceiling for beneficiaries with advanced degrees from US universities).
More over 48,000 prospective petitioners registered for the fiscal 2023 filing season, with the master’s cap accounting for nearly 31% of the eligible registrations requested.
Sponsoring employers whose registrations were approved must file visa applications by June 30 – the end of the filing season. This will be followed by the processing of the applications, which may include requesting further information if necessary.
The selected beneficiaries (H-1B cap workers) will be able to begin working under this visa in the United States on October 1. Whereas if a number of visa applications received by June 30 do not meet the yearly quota for fiscal 2023, a second lottery may be held.
In 2020, the H-1B registration process was launched for the first time. Sponsoring firms who want to hire H-1B cap employees (known as beneficiaries) must first complete an online registration process that requires very basic information about the prospective worker. A lottery (or random selection process) is then conducted, and H-1B cap visa applications must be made solely for the selected beneficiaries.
For fiscal 2022, USCIS received 308,613 H-1B cap registrations but initially picked only 87,500 — the number needed to meet the annual quota. Consequently, due to low submission numbers, a second lottery based on the original registrations was held in July 2021, and an additional 27,717 registrations were picked. This was followed by a third lottery in November 2021, with an additional 16,752 registrations chosen.
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