The H-1B lottery registration is scheduled from March 1st to March 17th this year. USCIS’s press release is pasted below.
It’s a lottery. The odds of winning aren’t as bad as Powerball. Still, many apply; fewer are selected. The odds are best for persons with Masters degrees or higher, granted by U.S. institutions. This group has a special set-aside of 20,000 spots, and that lottery runs first. For the non-Master’s+ group, the odds in recent years have been somewhere between 20%-33%. Reform is needed. The numbers have remained the same for more than a decade, and don’t reflect a real-time, calculated immigration policy.
Even with the recent tech layoffs, I expect demand for H-1B spots will remain high.
February is the time to evaluate eligibility and willingness to sponsor through this process. The annual lottery opens once per year — that time is now. Once the spots are gone, other sponsorship options may be limited. Immigration for high-skilled workers can be difficult.
The lottery is an improvement from the “old days,” when interested employers had to prepare and submit full petitions and then wait on the outcome of the lottery. Lottery participation basically requires electronic registration of the employer and the beneficiary, plus a $10 fee.
It is prudent to evaluate overall H-1B eligibility ahead of time, which involves reviewing the beneficiary’s qualifications, the job’s qualifications as a “specialty occupation,” and whether the “required wage” is a figure the employer is willing to pay.
The most likely registrants for the lottery will be foreign students who are now working in the United States on “optional practical training.” (“OPT”).
The earliest start date for anyone selected in the lottery is October 1st. Selection in the lottery, followed by the submission of an H-1B petition between April 1st and June 30th, can lead to continued work authorization (“cap gap authorization“) for students reaching the end of their OPT authorization.
Here’s the agency’s announcement:
FY 2024 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period Opens on March 1
Release Date – 01/27/2023
Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2024 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 1 and run through noon Eastern on March 17, 2023. During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using our online H-1B registration system.
We will assign a confirmation number to each registration submitted for the FY 2024 H-1B cap. This number is used solely to track registrations; you cannot use this number to track your case status in Case Status Online.
Prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives are required to use a myUSCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each registration submitted on behalf of each beneficiary. Prospective petitioners submitting their own registrations (U.S. employers and U.S. agents, collectively known as “registrants”) will use a “registrant” account. Registrants will be able to create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on Feb. 21.
Representatives may add clients to their accounts at any time, but both representatives and registrants must wait until March 1 to enter beneficiary information and submit the registration with the $10 fee. Prospective petitioners or their representatives will be able to submit registrations for multiple beneficiaries in a single online session. Through the account, they will be able to prepare, edit, and store draft registrations prior to final payment and submission of each registration.
If we receive enough registrations by March 17, we will randomly select registrations and send selection notifications via users’ myUSCIS online accounts. If we do not receive enough registrations, all registrations that were properly submitted in the initial registration period will be selected. We intend to notify account holders by March 31.
The U.S. Department of Treasury has approved a temporary increase in the daily credit card transaction limit from $24,999.99 to $39,999.99 per day for the FY 2024 H-1B cap season. This temporary increase is in response to the volume of previous H-1B registrations that exceeded the daily credit card limit. Additional information will be provided before the start of the initial H-1B registration period.
An H-1B cap-subject petition, including a petition for a beneficiary who is eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may only be filed by a petitioner whose registration for the beneficiary named in the H-1B petition was selected in the H-1B registration process.