Another year, another lottery- that is how American businesses have to hire potential employees- a system that needs reform. On April 1st, the USCIS started to accept H1b visa applications for fiscal year 2017 (which commences October 1st 2016). The window of acceptance closed on April 7th. A record 236,200 applications were received for only 85,000 visas that are actually available. On April 9th, the govt. conducted a random lottery on 20,000 visas that are reserved for those with a US Master’s degree and 65,000 for those with a Bachelor’s degree. My clients and others are still being informed. Premium processing cases will start processing no later than May 16th. Here is the USCIS announcement.
I am very grateful to have been able to share my voice with CNN Money on the H1b visa lottery written by reporter Sara O’Brian. She writes:
“This year, 236,000 foreigners applied for the H-1B, the most common visa for high-skilled foreign workers. That’s up 3,000 from 2015 — and up significantly more from 2014 which had 172,500 applications. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will grant just 85,000 H-1B visas (20,000 of which are reserved for master’s degree holders), which it selected on Saturday, April 9, via a lottery process. For applicants — and employers — the fate of their applications is out of their hands. “The lottery makes everything very uncertain,” said immigration lawyer Tahmina Watson of Watson Immigration Law, who said she was anticipating that the number of applications would indeed be higher this year.” Read the rest here.
This is not good for American businesses and economy. As the economy improves, so does that the need for more skilled workers for businesses. There is a lack of skilled workers in the US and thus businesses rely on foreign skilled workers. Yet, our immigration system is a hindrance to hiring such workers and thus blocking further economic growth.
I filed numerous applications this year but have only heard about a handful of cases. Like my clients, I am sitting at the edge of my seat. Tune into my radio show “Immigration with Tahmina” on Desi 1250am, on May 17th at 10 AM PST to listen to one of my clients, whose fate of her business rests in the hands of USCIS, and what the H1b lottery means to her. We still don’t know whether her case has been selected. This will be an insightful and raw discussion that is unmissable.
In any event, if you are awaiting USCIS notification, good luck! We all need it- after all, it is a lottery.