Earlier this year, USCIS passed a regulation that changes the way H1B lottery is conducted with a New Registration Requirement, but due to time constraints they are not fully implementing the New H1B Registration Rule in full and only implementing small part of it for the upcoming H1B season. We will look at what will be applicable for H1B Visa FY 2020 season that starts on April 1st, 2019 and address some common FAQs around the same.
Before we begin, if you are not familiar with H1B Cap, read H1B Cap Quotas – Regular vs Masters. There are no changes of H1B cap quotas for FY 2020 season. For regular quota, it is 85,000 ( includes 6,800 set aside for Singapore Chile free trade agreement H1-B1 Program) and US Masters quota is 20,000.
What is the New H1B Lottery Process ? What are the Changes for FY 2020 Season?
The fundamental change in H1B lottery process for fiscal year(FY) 2020 is the order in which the lottery is conducted. If you look at the below flow chart, in the current H1B lottery system, first lottery or random selection is conducted for US Masters or advanced degree candidates to fill the 20,000 quota cap and then the unselected petitions from that US Masters pool are put in the pool of regular petitions and lottery is conducted to fill 85,000 cap.
Now, for upcoming FY 2020 H1B season in April 2019, the order will be changed. First Lottery will be conducted to meet the Regular cap quota of 85,000 and then unselected US masters petitions from this overall pool are put in for another lottery to fill the US Masters quota cap of 20,000. See below flow chart. It may seem a very simple change, but it has an impact on overall number of petitions selected for US masters applicants.
How does the New H1B Lottery System Order Change Impact everyone ?
USCIS did analysis of changing the lottery order based on their H1B historical data and believes that the change in order will increase the overall number of US masters applicants to be selected in H1B lottery. Based on their data, the reversal of lottery will result in about 16% or 5,340 more US Masters degree applicants to be selected for H1B in a fiscal year. What it also means is that if you are a regular quota applicant, you have lost about 5,340 more slots in the lottery to US Masters. Technically, you can think of Regular quota petitions quota cap is down from 65,000 to about 59,660 ( 65,000 – 5,340 = 59,660 ). Also, you need to realize that this 59,660 includes 6,800 set aside for H1-B1 under the free trade agreement between Singapore and Chile. Although the majority of the H1B1 quota is unfilled and most of the 6,800 petitions count is available for regular quota, it still tells us a fact that the open slots for regular quota cap has reduced and your chances as regular quota applicant have gone down…
How does the Overall H1B Process work with Change in Lottery Order for FY 2020 Season ?
There are no changes to the way overall H1B process, it is still the same. USCIS will accept all the H1B petition packets for 5 days starting from April 1st and last for 5 days until April 5th. USCIS will conduct lottery, if they receive more petitions than the required cap count. USCIS notifies the selected petitions and gives them a case number. If a petition does not get selected in the H1B lottery, then the H1B petitioner or employer would be sent a rejected notice and the H1B package with fee is returned. All the selected petitions go through standard adjudication process of USCIS. In summary, the process looks like in below flow chart diagram.
Does USCIS Select More Petitions than the Cap Quota ? Any Stats ?
Yes, USCIS selects more petitions than the required number of H1B cap for a fiscal year. They select more petitions to account for the denials, revocations and other reasons. This was always a debate and subject to much speculation on how many petitions were selected on top of the standard quota cap. USCIS published data on the additional petitions selected ever year as part of the New Registration Rule documents. Below are the stats on the same from year 2013 to 2017 and graph. On an average, USCIS selects about extra 12,000 petitions or about 14.3% of petitions to account for these denials, revocations and other reasons. You can check out more stats at H1B Historical Data – Lottery Vs Actual Split
|H1B Cap-Subject Petitions Years 2013-2017 – Percentage of Extra H1B Petitions Selected Overs 85K Cap|
|Year||Total H1Bs Filed with USCIS||Overall H1Bs Selected in Lottery||Additional H1B Petitions Picked in Lottery||Percentage of Petitions Over Standard Cap of 85,000|
What do you think of the New H1B Lottery order? Your thoughts, analysis ?