Proposed Changes to H1-B Visa May Favor Tech Companies and Highest Paid Workers

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A proposed rule change to the way the H1-B visa lottery is run could increase the odds that workers with graduate and doctoral degrees receive the visa, while making it harder for workers with only undergraduate degrees or workers without advanced degrees to secure a visa. Currently, there are two lottery systems in place for the H1-B. Individuals with doctoral degrees and master’s degrees can compete for 20,000 visas available through a lottery available only for workers with advanced degrees. If the workers with advanced degrees do not win this lottery, they then go into the general pool competing for 65,000 H1-B visas available every year. The order of the lottery system is important. In the past, highly skilled workers competed for visas first, and those that didn’t get a visa in that lottery could join the general pool of applicants.

The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant work visa that lets employees hire workers with special skills, talents, and degrees in specialty occupations. Every year, the U.S. runs a lottery system to see who can get a visa.

However, under the proposed rule change, highly-skilled workers would first compete against workers without advanced degrees for the 65,000 slots. If they don’t win this lottery, they can then compete against only workers with advanced degrees. The order switch means that there will be more workers with advanced degrees competing in the open lottery, reducing the chances that those without advanced degrees will win. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that this will increase the number of people with advanced degrees who win the H1-B lottery by 16 percent.

Another proposed change (which will likely NOT be effective for the April 2019 lottyer) will require employers to register employees for the lottery without the need to complete a full application. Only if the employee is selected will the full application be required. However, if you do plan to apply for the H1-B lottery, you probably should not wait until the last minute to get your documentation in order. You may want to speak to the immigration lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia at Kuck Baxter Immigration today.

In recent months there has been a 30% increase H1-B denials. According to Forbes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has made many more requests for additional evidence for H1-B applicants (increasing by more than 70%). Applicants who are considering entering the visa lottery should be prepared to submit additional evidence, if requested. This means that many applicants might be wise to have their applications complete even before they are selected by the lottery.

If you are considering applying for the H1-B visa, preparation is key. Furthermore, if you are planning to hire a worker on an H1-B visa, it is important that you take steps to give your potential employee the best chance possible for success. Kuck Baxter Immigration are Atlanta, Georgia immigration lawyers who can assist you with this process.


Kuck Baxter Immigration Partners, L.L.C.
365 Northridge Road
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350
325 N Milledge Avenue
Athens, GA 30606
(by appointment only)

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Charles Kuck

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