H-1B Lottery System — will it change?

The lottery and timing

If you have a master’s or higher degree, you will have a slightly higher chance of being selected in the lottery than those with only a bachelor’s degree. To meet the annual 85,000 H-1B cap (of which 20,000 are reserved for those with a master’s or higher degree), USCIS randomly selects enough registrants to meet 65,000 H-1B applications and then draws from the remaining registrants who have a master’s or higher degree to meet 20,000 H-1B applications.

Filing the H-1B petition

My late father, who was also an immigration attorney, used to always say: “An H-1B is really simple. Just think of it like a three-legged stool. The stool needs all three legs so you can sit on it and it won’t fall over.”

An approvable H-1B petition must demonstrate:

  1. The company qualifies: It’s a real, established company in compliance with all applicable laws and tax obligations, providing an employer-employee relationship and with the ability to pay the beneficiary the prevailing wage for the job.
  2. There’s a qualifying job: The position must meet legal requirements and related factors such as its title, the duties and the requisite education or experience.
  3. The candidate qualifies: The H-1B beneficiary possesses the proper education and/or experience to do the job and is compliant with all applicable immigration rules.

Backup options

If you are not selected in the H-1B lottery, your startup should consider pursuing a concurrent cap-exempt H-1B for you, which can be done at any time of the year.

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