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An H-1B nonimmigrant work visa allows foreign workers to be employed in a specialty occupation that requires theoretical or technical expertise gained through the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent. A classic example is an accountant, a teacher, or an engineer, among others. These positions must require the attainment of a bachelor’s degree in a specific field of specialty, at a minimum,  to qualify and perform the proffered job duties.

The H-1B visa opens a lot of opportunities for both U.S. employers and foreign workers, considering “the great resignation” that swept the United States, as a result of the pandemic. For first-time H-1B holders, the employment period will commence no sooner than October 1, 2023, generally for a period of up to three years. The same can also be extended for another three (3), for a maximum period of six (6) years. Unlike many other nonimmigrant visas, H-1B has “dual intent” that permits foreign workers to have an intent to immigrate to the United States and apply for permanent residency.

At present, there are 65,000  H-1B visas available for individuals who have attained a bachelor’s degree (regular cap), and 20,000 for those who have attained a U.S. advanced or master’s degree from eligible U.S. universities (master’s cap). Due to the limitation in the number of H-1B visas issued each fiscal year, prospective employers are required to go through the registration process, wherein USCIS will conduct a random selection/lottery from all the registrants. Please note that only those selected from the lottery may file their actual H-1B petition. The H-1B registration period for this fiscal year 2024 will run from March 1, 2023 (noon EST) through March 17, 2023 (noon EST).

This is the fourth year of the H-1B registration system. So far, it has proven to be beneficial to both the employers and beneficiaries, considering the convenient process involved to enter the selection process or lottery. In the past, to enter into the H-1B cap draw, an employer had to package the full case and wait for months to find out if the petition was selected. Now, all it takes is a preliminary analysis regarding the position and an online registration.

The computerized draw also permits additional selections if the annual quota is not met during the first or initial random selection process. For example, for the fiscal year 2020, there was an additional random selection round in August 2020. In 2021, there were two additional rounds in late July and in November 2021. For this fiscal year of 2024, initial selection results will be announced on or before April 1, 2023.

We encourage U.S. employers and foreign nationals to contact their attorneys and register for the lottery as soon as possible. We also recommend the holders of other nonimmigrant visas such as E-3, H-4, J-1, L-2, TN, F-1 or have Employment Authorization Documents through their educational program (OPT or CPT) to consider applying for the H-1B, if eligible. Likewise, foreign nationals who are outside the United States, who wish to work in the U.S. may also qualify. Individuals who will miss FY 2024 window will have to wait another year to apply for a new H-1B.

We recommend seeking the advice of a highly capable immigration attorney to prepare for a timely H-1B registration. Our office is currently assisting our clients for their H-1B registration application. We are happy to help you too! Call us at (866) 201-6355 or e-mail inquiry@perryalznauer.com to schedule your consultation asap.