H-1B Visa Lottery System to Remain in 2021

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revealed on January 7, 2021, a plan to replace the H-1B visa lottery system with a wage-based allocation system to prioritize the most highly skilled foreign workers, protect the economic interests of the United States, and maintain international competitiveness. 

However, the agency then announced on February 5 that it would delay the effective date of the finale rule from March 9 to December 31, which means the random selection process will remain in place until the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 cap season. 

The purpose of the delay is to provide USCIS more time to create, examine, and institute the changes to the H-1B registration system and selection process, as well as train staff members and perform outreach to the public. Stakeholders are also given time to adjust to the new system. 

According to Joseph Edlow, the USCIS deputy director for policy, employers abused and exploited the H-1B temporary visa program in order to fill entry-level jobs and reduce overall costs to business operations, resulting in an influx of low-wage positions filled by foreign labor. Furthermore, he said the current process undermines how businesses plan their hiring and how the U.S. competes for “the best and brightest international workforce.” 

The random selection process is comprised of two lotteries used to meet the annual quota of 85,000. The first lottery randomly chooses 65,000 applications, while the second lottery is used to select 20,000 applicants who were not selected in the initial round and maintain advanced degrees from U.S. colleges or universities. 

If your Illinois, Texas, or Arizona company is interested in applying for a H-1B visa on behalf of a foreign worker, contact Gambacorta Law today at (847) 443-9303 to allow us to achieve your business goals.