The H-1B Cap Lottery is coming up, and it is the season for United States employers to prepare. Many employers have likely already begun the process, but for those who haven’t and intend to hire a foreign national worker, there is a significant amount of screening and paperwork to get started on before the lottery selection process begins.
In most cases, the H-1B Cap registration process will need to be performed in March in order to have a chance to sponsor a foreign national worker for professional-level positions. As of yet, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not made any announcement of the particular registration dates for the H-1B Cap; however, generally, the lottery will be performed by the first week of April. Prior to this, employers will likely need to register during a three-week time in March for their chance to sponsor a worker.
Employers will have 65,000 spots in the ordinary H-1B Cap and 20,000 in the Master’s Cap as normal, and despite many changes that were considered throughout 2021, the lottery has remained the same. Employers will still have an equal chance of being randomly selected in the registration process and continuing onto the sponsorship procedure.
Some H-1B workers may not be subject to the annual cap, most notably current H-1B workers who are extending their status, switching H-1B employers, or filing for a concurrent H-1B position. Other exceptions include those seeking employment with a higher education institution, affiliated or related non-profit entity, or a non-profit or government-run research organization.
In certain cases, another visa option may be better suited as well. For employees from either Canada or Mexico, a T.N. visa will often be an option and offers many advantages. Additionally, spouses of existing H-1B, L, and E visas are often qualified for spousal employment authorization, which may also prove a viable alternative to filing a petition for an H-1B worker.
For those with interest in sponsoring a foreign national working for a professional level position, there will likely be a considerable amount of competition with the considerable demand for workers beginning this year. Also, do not forget to consider filing for any current employees that hold an F-1 student status. Once this expires, they will need H-1B status to remain working. There is very likely to be some upfront work before the registration process even begins, so the time to prepare and ensure you are ready for the H-1B Lottery is now.
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