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USCIS Delays End of H-1B Visa Lottery System Until December


On January 7, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced to end the traditional lottery system for the H-1B visa – which is a nonimmigrant visa that enables American companies to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations – in favor of a wage-based process. Then on February 5, the agency said it would delay the effective date of the H-1B final rule from March 9 to December 31, 2021. 

The delay provides the agency with more time to develop, test, and implement the modifications to the H-1B registration system and selection process before the initial registration period is open for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B cap season. Additionally, the delay gives USCIS more time to train staff and perform public outreach, as well as provides stakeholders time to adjust to the new rule. 

The main reason why the agency is getting rid of the lottery system is because a merit- and wage-based system will incentivize companies to either offer higher wages, petition for higher-skilled positions, or both. The current random selection process makes it hard for employers to plan their hiring, hinders their ability to remain competitive internationally, and has led to a yearly increase in hires of low-wage positions. 

Until the change, the lottery process will continue with two lotteries in order to randomly choose up to 85,000 beneficiaries. The cap for the first lottery is 65,000 applicants, while the cap for the second lottery is 20,000 applicants who hold U.S. advanced degrees and not selected in the first lottery. 

Many H-1B visa recipients are from Indiana and China. The majority of these foreign workers are employed in the Bay Area, working in the region’s tech companies, such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. 

If you are a U.S. employer who is interested in hiring an H-1B visa applicant in Phoenix, contact Kanu & Associates, P.C. today at (602) 353-7795 to learn how we can help you and your business. Get more than 20 years of experience on your side!