On November 19, 2021, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a surprise announcement with the results of a third H-1B third cap lottery for the Fiscal Year 2022 H-1B cap. In doing so, the USCIS chose an additional quantity of the original submissions made in the registration period that took place from March 9-25, 2021, to fill out its current quota of 85,000.
Though not a complete surprise, this third lottery came as a bit of a shock to many as this is the first time the agency has done so since introducing its modern electronic process. There was some precedent for this, however as earlier in the year, the agency had left the possibility open for further selection periods if too few H-1B petitions were filed after selections were made after the first lottery was completed.
In the end, the USCIS determined that too few H-1B petitions were filed after the results of the prior two lotteries. Thus, the USCIS has chosen to select another 16,753 registrations out of the remaining 190,000 filed with the agency back in March to be certain that the annual quota of 85,000 approved is reached
For those that were selected, the USCIS is giving a 90-day window in which to file. This means that petitioners can file H-1B cap petitions in the period between November 22nd of this year and February 23rd of the next year. For those newly selected, they will find that their account will be updated with a notice of selection.
According to a previous announcement from the USCIS, there were 308,613 registrations submitted during the initial registration period in March, which is the highest ever recorded in the agency’s history. In the first H-1B cap lottery, the agency selected 87,500 of these on March 30th, and following this, an undisclosed number of the employers that won in the first lottery did not pursue the slots, and on July 29th the agency performed a second lottery selecting 27,717 further applicants.
It seems that this still did not result in a high enough number of completed applications, so now the USCIS has selected another 16,753 applicants. This means that as of now, the total selections for the year 2022 are 131,908 reaching a final selection rate of 42.7%.
Though not impossible, it seems likely that this will be the last lottery selection for the FY2022 H-1B cap. The USCIS will hold future registrations in reserve in case the agency does not receive enough petitions for the currently selected registration, but as of now, it does not appear likely that there will be a fourth lottery.