FY 2024 H-1B Lottery Registration Period Opens March 1
Employers who recently hired F-1 foreign students and wish to continue to employ them beyond the one or three years of Optional Practical Training employment authorization should contact immigration counsel and start making a plan. USCIS announced that it would begin accepting electronic registrations for H-1B visas on March 1, 2023. The registration period runs until March 17, 2023, at noon Eastern time. Selected registrants will be notified in late March or early April. Selectees will then have 90 days to file an H-1B petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. If the petition is approved, the visa will issue on October 1, 2023.
An H-1B visa permits an employer to employ a foreign national in the United States in a position that usually requires a bachelor’s degree in a particular field. Common H-1B positions include architect, accountant, engineer, lawyer, computer systems analyst, and physician. With a maximum validity of six years, H-1 visas are commonly used as a bridge between student status and lawful permanent resident.
H-1B visas are popular, and not just among foreign students. Congress authorizes 85,000 new H-1B visas each year with 20,000 of those visas set aside for individuals who hold post-baccalaureate degrees from US universities. Due to a recent change in the lottery process, the odds of winning the lottery have plummeted. Last year, USCIS received 483,927 registrants for 85,000 visas. Because the odds of selection are so low, employers who wish to retain their F-1 OPT employees shouldn’t rely on obtaining an H-1B visa.
Richard M. Green of CDF Labor Law’s immigration practice is ready to help you both register your employees for the H-1B lottery and discuss alternatives to the H-1B visa. He’s here to help employers navigate a way to maintain employment authorization and permanent residence for your foreign national employees.