2019 H-1B Visa Lottery Changes Could Affect You

crowd holding American flags

It’s the time of year when visa applicants begin preparing for the H-1B Cap season. For 2019, the Department of Homeland Security has made changes to the H-1B Cap that all applicants, employers, and immigration attorneys should be aware of.

This new rule requires an electronic pre-registration by every visa applicant. It also reverses the order in which H-1B petitions are picked during the Cap Lottery.

The electronic pre-registration will not take effect until April of 2020, so those applying for 2019 need not worry about it. However, the change in the H-1B lottery process will be effective as of April 1, 2019, so those applying in 2019 should be aware of the changes and how they could affect their visa application.

New Lottery Order For H-1B Visas

Previously, the lottery for masters degree holders was held first, and then those not selected were added to the general lottery. Now, however, the DHS will:

  • Have a general lottery were 65,000 visas are given out, with the masters degree holders included
  • Those masters degree holders who are not selected in the general lottery are then put in a separate lottery for the 20,000 visas allocated to masters degree beneficiaries

USCIS claims that this change could increase the number of visas received by advanced degree holders by around 16%, or 5300 visas.

Favoring More Educated Immigrants

This change is in line with President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative. Part of the goal of this policy was to increase the number of highly educated visa recipients each year.

This change will benefit those who have received an advanced degree from a US institution, and will increase their odds of receiving a visa. However, for those who received advanced degrees outside of the US, receiving a visa is now more difficult than ever. It will also be harder for businesses to hire foreign employees who only have a Bachelor’s degree, whether from a university in the US or from another country.

Contact An Experienced Immigration Attorney

If you plan on filing a Cap H-1B petition, it’s crucial that you get started right away. At Monument Immigration, we can assist you in every step of the visa process. We have years of experience working on every aspect of immigration law.

We can have your application ready and submitted in no more than 48 business hours. Contact us today.