Perhaps you are one of the many Americans that applied for an H-1B visa, a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ workers of graduate level in specialty occupations. The companies that employ these workers tend to take place on a technical field, such as IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, and many more. If you have achieved a Bachelor’s degree or higher and want to apply for the H-1B, you can do so in hopes that you will be starting your dreams in the U.S.
H-1B Visa Cap
However, thousands of Americans every year find out that there is a reason to be disappointed, through something known as the H-1B visa cap. Applying for non-immigrant visas can still be a difficult process, but it is generally an easier one than applying for a U.S. green card. This is why this special visa is popular among companies who wish to bring in long-term, trained staff for work assignments in the U.S. They are able to hire these workers for a longer period of time to give them work in their skill line that will benefit both company and worker. However, there is one problem: There is a lack of available H-1B visa employers.
H-1B visas are also subject to a visa cap every single financial year in the U.S. Because many U.S. employers want to meet the requirement and get started as soon as possible, they usually apply for the visa 6 months before the actual date of the visa. In fact, last year employers started applying as soon as April 2, 2017, for the 2018 cap even if employees couldn’t start work for many months later.
Immigration laws make about 85,000 H-1B visas available every year. This is broken up over 65,000 visas for overseas workers in professional level occupations, and 20,000 for the specialty workers with advanced degrees from a U.S. institution. Because this fills up quickly, in many cases the USCIS will have to hold a lottery for the available H-1B visas.
How the Annual “Lottery” Works
Every year, the USCIS holds an H-1B “lottery” due to the great number of petitions for skilled workers wanting to come to the U.S. The lottery is conducted provided the cap is hit during the first 5 business days. In 7/10 of the last fiscal years, the H-1B cap has always been reached before those first 5 business days are up. From there, petitions are selected through a random process generated by a computer system, which works to meet the cap. The first 20,000 are conducted through the lottery and then other requests are put back into the pool for the 65,000 until all workers are chosen.
As you can see, there are many workers with experience who apply for the H-1B every year in the U.S. If you are looking to apply for your H-1B to immigrate to the U.S. for specialized work, it is important to know your rights and what to expect. This sometimes-complicated process can be demanding and difficult, which is why we are here for you at Dehghani & Associates. Call us today at 203-773-9513.