Visa Crunch

United States: USCIS To Conduct Third H-1B Visa Lottery, Petition Filing To Begin From 22 November

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has opted to hold a third H-1B visa lottery for the first time in order to achieve the quantitative cap for fiscal 2022, which began on October 1.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables US companies to hire immigrant workers in speciality jobs that require theoretical or technical competence. It is the most sought-after visa among Indian IT professionals.

As stipulated by Congress, the H-1B visa has a numerical maximum of 65,000 visas every fiscal year. The cap is waived for the first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries holding a master’s degree or higher in the United States. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US businesses to hire foreign workers in specialized vocations that require theoretical or technical knowledge. Technology firms rely on it to hire tens of thousands of workers from countries such as India and China each year.

The USCIS has previously said that it would need to choose extra applications in order to fulfil the numerical allocations for FY2022, along with the advanced degree exemptions. “On Nov. 19, we selected from among previously filed electronic registrations utilizing a random selection method,” the US immigration office stated in a statement.

The petition filing period will begin on November 22, 2021, and end on February 23, 2022, based on the registrations chosen on November 19.  Individuals with chosen registrations will have a selection notice added to their myUSCIS accounts, which will include information on when and where to file.”

Normally, work visa selections are completed in one round if the USCIS receives sufficient applications; but, in July 2021, the US immigration office undertook a second round of random selection after receiving insufficient applications in the first round. The second lottery was held just before the fiscal year’s filing window opened.

The USCIS had previously stated that it had received 2,75,000 applications for FY2021, with Indian petitioners accounting for 67 per cent of the total. However, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, travel and business closures were implemented in April 2020, and numerous employers did not complete their visa applications, according to lawyers.

“We conducted an initial selection in March 2021. The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2022 was from April 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Per regulation, we take into account historical data related to approvals, denials, revocations, and other relevant factors to calculate the number of registrations needed to meet the H-1B numerical allocations for a given fiscal year. Only those petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2022 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions,” the agency said in a statement.

According to reports, the USCIS has a yearly calendar that runs from October to September, and applicants approved for FY2022 will be able to begin employment in October 2022. Annually, the United States issues 65,000 new H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 designated for applicants who have completed their master’s degree in the United States.

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