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  • Janna Glavan, CP

H-1B lottery season is here!

USCIS's online registration system for this year's H-1B lottery is now open, and registrations must be submitted before noon on March 25, 2021. H-1B visas are work visas for specialty occupation professionals. In order to qualify, the job must be in a specialty occupation, where a degree in a specific field is normally required for the occupation. In addition, the foreign worker must have at least a Bachelor's degree that is directly related to the occupation. Only 85,000 H-1B visas are given out each fiscal year, and 20,000 of those are reserved for workers with U.S.-awarded Master's degrees. A lottery is conducted in April to determine who gets these highly-coveted visas. USCIS used to require employers to file full I-129 petitions, and they would conduct the lottery on all the petitions received during the first few days of April. Last year, USCIS started using an electronic registration system instead. Now, employers who want to hire an H-1B worker submit a short electronic registration form during a specified time period in March, and the lottery is conducted on those registrations. This new system makes it far less costly and burdensome for employers to try for an H-1B, because only employers who "win" the lottery have to prepare and file full petitions. The odds for selection in the lottery are usually between 30-36%. It remains to be seen how COVID will impact this year's lottery. With higher-than-average unemployment, demand for H-1B visas may be lower this year. But, if you are a foreign worker or a company seeking to hire a foreign professional, don't delay in submitting your lottery registration. If you miss the March 25 cutoff, you will have to wait a whole year before you have another chance. Contact Best Law Offices today for support with the H-1B process!

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