New H-1B Changes on the Horizon for Lottery Season

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New H-1B Changes on the Horizon for Lottery Season

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With this year’s H-1B lottery right around the corner, USCIS is pushing out new updates and new policies that will have a major impact on the way the lottery is run this year.  As of the time of this writing, they have not yet announced the specific dates the registration period will be open for, but expect a couple of weeks in early March.  A few of the new changes to expect:

  • USCIS is pushing out E-Filing capabilities for H-1Bs in February. This will make it dramatically easier to have your case filed and receipted by USCIS during the filing window;
  • Proposed regulations changing how selections work. Previously, each time a registrant was put in the lottery, they essentially were given an extra “ticket.”  This meant that the number of individuals who entered the lottery multiple times skyrocketed over the past few fiscal years.  New regulations in the works would change this process so that no matter how many registrations a person has, they still will only have one “ticket” in the lottery—in other words, they can only be chosen once, and then have to choose which employer will petition for them;
  • Proposed regulations changing how beneficiary-owned businesses qualify for H-1Bs. Right now, it is difficult, but not impossible, for the beneficiary of an H-1B petition to be the majority owner of that business.  While the proposed regulations are not entirely clear to what extent this will change, the new regulations do propose separate approval periods for beneficiary-owned businesses, perhaps signaling an easier time in filing these for those with ownership interest in their employers;

Overall, USCIS seems to have realized that the system is broken and needs fixes, and I look forward to seeing how some of these changes will impact the lottery moving forward.  If you have any questions, or would like to register a potential employee in the lottery this year, please contact our office.

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