In March of this year, employers signed up prospective employees for the H-1B “lottery,” wherein nearly 275,000 individuals were registered to compete for a coveted 85,000 visas. The initial selection was completed at the end of March, and the opportunity to apply for an H-1B was awarded to 85,000 individuals. Subsequently, employers began filing their petitions for these workers in order to bring them over to work in their specialty occupations or to change their status to that of an H-1B worker.
Unfortunately, as we have all experienced, the end of March also brought with it the beginnings of COVID-19’s impact on our economy. Largely because of this, many of those selected for an H-1B in the March lottery never actually had a petition filed for them, leaving their visa unused. As such, USCIS rather surreptitiously conducted a second, smaller lottery for those who registered in March, but were not previously selected. No announcement was made in advance, and indeed as of the time of this writing no announcement has been made by USCIS at all. It is unclear how many additional selections were made.
Regardless, employers and attorneys have received notification of new selections, if any, and these new selectees will have until November 16, 2020 for the actual H-1B petition to be submitted on their behalf.
Those clients of Joseph and Hall that had beneficiaries selected in this second lottery have already been notified, but if you or a prospective employee has been selected and you would like to discuss filing the actual H-1B petition, please contact us.
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