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USCIS To Implement New Regulations for H-1B Cap Lottery

Posted January 31, 2019H-1B

USCIS has posted a final rule changing the H-1B lottery process. Effective in April 2019 (for the 2020 fiscal year), USCIS will reverse the order of the H-1B cap lottery. First, USCIS will draw petitions for the general bachelor's cap, where 65,000 new visas are to be granted. Second, USCIS will draw petition's for the master's cap, where 20,000 additional visas are to be granted to individuals who hold master's or other advanced degrees from US universities.

This change is expected to increase the odds that individuals who hold advanced degrees will be selected in the H-1B lottery. USCIS expects that this change in process may result in a 16% increase in likelihood that an individual with an advanced degree will have a petition selected in the lottery.

USCIS will also implement an H-1B lottery online registration process, but will delay this implementation until 2020. The electronic registration process will require employers to submit an electronic registration for each petition first. The USCIS will then hold the lottery to determine which petitions are selected and invite employers to submit complete H-1B petitions subsequently. Additional details on this program will be released in the future, but USCIS will provide at least 90 days to submit complete petitions after the lottery is completed.

Meltzer Hellrung will continue to process H-1B petitions as it typically has in 2019. We will monitor the proposed changes to the registration, lottery, and submission process, to advise clients on how best to proceed in 2020 and beyond.

For more information on filing H-1B cap petitions please contact your Meltzer Hellrung attorney.