USCIS Lottery for H-1B Visas Is Nearly Here

Lottery for H-1B
March 6, 2023

With the H-1B lottery nearly here, employers can soon register for the H-1B program. The H-1B visa permits employers to recruit foreign national workers for “specialty occupations.” The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) define such occupations as those requiring theoretical or practical application of highly specialized knowledge. As such, these positions require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

As a result, the H-1B visa became a popular option for foreign national students coming to the United States. However, the popularity of this visa is also one of its most considerable drawbacks. The high demand dramatically exceeds the number of H-1B visas issued annually. Currently, 85,000 H-1B visas are available, 20,0000 of which the USCIS reserves for advanced degree holders.

In response to this demand, the USCIS introduced an electronic registration system. Here is a closer look at how the registration process for employers works.

  • Beginning February 23, 2023, the USCIS website opened registrations for myUSCIS accounts for employers. These accounts are crucial to engaging in the registration process.
  • Starting March 1, 2023, employers may register for the H-1B program. Employers must provide their company name, the name of the beneficiary, the beneficiary’s country of citizenship, the beneficiary’s passport number, and a $10 fee payment. This fee will likely increase under a proposed rule in the federal register, but this will not occur until after this fiscal year.

Employers must remember that they can file only one registration for a particular employee. Should they file more, every application will face automatic rejection.

The USCIS will likely finish selecting registrations to continue the application process beginning March 31, 2023. Therefore, chosen H-1B petitions may begin filing on April 1, 2023; selected registrations will have up to 90 days of selection to file. After completing the process, employees may begin work on or after October 1, 2023. They may work up to six months after the filing date.

The USCIS will retain the registrations of those not chosen in the initial lottery. This retention is in case another lottery proves necessary to meet the allotted number of visas. For those registering, the likelihood of receiving a selection on the first try may seem bleak. For example, over 483,000 people registered with the USCIS last year. Unfortunately, the USCIS only had 85,000 visas available.

Employers with accepted registrations must quickly prepare for the following process and what comes after, such as the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. Unfortunately, this process often becomes a minefield for liability. As such, companies should invest in an electronic I-9 management tool to ensure compliance. This tool provides employers with step-by-step guidance, convenient reminders, and storage for forms and documentation.

Interested in automating your employment eligibility verification? Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.