If you or your employee did not get selected in the initial draw from this year’s H-1B lottery, unfortunately, you’re not alone. Since USCIS changed the H-1B process in 2020 to a bifurcated system that permits registration and lottery prior to filing a substantive H-1B petition, the number of applicants has gone up dramatically. Prior to 2020, an employer would need to file a full H-1B petition by the April deadline, and hope to receive a cap number. Now, for a very low registration fee, employers first enter their employees in the lottery, and if selected, the employer may then file a full H-1B petition for the beneficiary.
While the new registration system has many advantages, including not requiring employers to invest the full expense of an H-1B petition without knowing if their employee will be selected in the lottery, it has also had the effect of drastically increasing the pool of applicants, simultaneously decreasing the likelihood of selection for each person. This year’s lottery was especially bleak: during the registration period for the FY 2024 H-1B cap, USCIS saw a significant increase in the number of registrations submitted compared to prior years. There was an increase in the number of registrations submitted, the number of registrations submitted on behalf of beneficiaries with multiple registrations, and the number of registrations submitted on behalf of unique beneficiaries with only one registration. An astonishing 780,884 registrations were received in the lottery period, but ultimately, only 85,000 H-1B visas may be allotted each year. As a result, these numbers spelled disappointment for the vast majority of registrants.
This year’s lottery, more than ever, underscores the need for H-1B reform legislation that ensures that the supply of H-1B visas is responsive to the needs of U.S. employers and the economy. If you did not receive an H-1B selection and would like to discuss your other visa options, reach out to the attorneys at CYA today.