A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Contact: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/

Monday, March 28, 2022

Results of First H-1B Visa Lottery for FY2023

News about the FY 2023 H-1B cap selection notices has been buzzing this weekend.  USCIS has started to upload selection notices since Friday afternoon.  More selection notices were uploaded to the system on Monday morning. The format of the selection notices is the same as last year, containing information of the employer, employee, filing deadline, cap category (regular vs. master), etc.  

Based on anecdotal reports, the odds of getting selected this year are worse than last year.  Our firm's overall selection rate is 33% so far.  The selection rate for bachelor's degree holders is 23% vs. 62% for advanced degree holders. 

The number of H-1B registrations has been on the rise since the introduction of the e-registration system in 2020. This year's number of registrants should be well over 300,000.   A lawsuit by 500 foreign workers challenging the legality of the new USCIS e-registration system was dismissed by a district court earlier this month.

To check if your case has been selected, you must contact your employer or attorney.  A selection notice will be issued if a case is selected in the lottery.  If your case is not selected in the first drawing, there is still a chance that it may be selected in the second drawing, as the above table shows.  In fact, for FY2022, a third drawing was actually conducted in November 2021.  Although the annual H-1B visa quota per year is 85,000, USCIS would select additional applications to accommodate for the percentage of cases that are denied, abandoned or withdrawn.  

For those who are lucky enough to be selected in the first round, do not assume that your case will be approved.  You must work closely with your employer and attorney to make sure that a complete and legally-sufficient H-1B petition is filed before the filing deadline.  Also decide if you want to change your status within the U.S. or apply for an H-1B visa to enter.

For those who have not been selected, there is still hope. But if you decide to stay in the U.S., you must continue to maintain your legal immigration status using opt, STEM opt, etc. The cap-gap extension rules only apply if a valid H-1B petition has been submitted.  Extension of your F-1 status is also a possibility.  Some students choose to apply for CPT employment.  CPT employment has been scrutinized by DHS in recent years. Make sure that you sign up with a reputable school and follow the rules and regulations governing CPT.  

As a reminder, it is always important for applicants to plan early on about their immigration status. Timing is truly everything. Oftentimes, it would be too late to do anything if one waits until the last minute.  Also have a plan B ready in case something goes wrong.  

Finally, if you didn't get selected this around, try to stay optimistic.  It is not the end of the world. There will be a second or even a third drawing; there will also be another batch of visa numbers available next year.  We have clients who get selected on their second or third try. There may also be something else in life waiting for you even without H-1B status. 

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