H-1B cap season gets underway, high demand expected

13 Dec 21

UNITED STATES

The FY 2023 H-1B cap season is getting underway amid economic conditions that could increase demand for high-skilled foreign workers.

Employers are encouraged to begin H-1B planning now and should expect heavy competition for workers who may have multiple employment offers. The number of registrations regularly eclipses the number of cap-subject H-1B visas available, both for bachelor’s and advanced degree holders. Next year will almost surely be no exception.

Here is some of the key information for those new to the process or in need of a refresher:

  • Petitioners for cap-subject H-1B visas must submit an electronic registration in the weeks before April 1 for each prospective H-1B candidate.
  • USCIS has yet to announce the dates on which registrations will be accepted. In each of the last two years, the registration period has been in March.
  • No priority is given to early submissions (i.e., those submitted at the beginning of the registration period).
  • Following the registration period, USCIS will conduct a random lottery if there are more registrations than visas available. Caps are set at 65,000 visas plus an additional 20,000 exclusively for advanced degree holders.
  • Petitioners whose registrations are selected in the lottery will be invited to file full H-1B petitions in the 90-day period beginning April 1.

Background: This will be the third cap season in which USCIS will use the H-1B electronic registration process. USCIS received 308,613 registrations last year and 274,237 the year before. In each of the last two years, USCIS has conducted more than one lottery. Whether this happens again will depend on several factors, including how many petitions are submitted for the registrations that are selected in the initial lottery.

BAL Analysis: Demand for H-1B visas will likely be high again this cap season, and employers should expect candidates to have multiple job offers. Employers are encouraged to work closely with BAL regarding the immigration benefits employers can offer (e.g., immediate green card sponsorship), which petitions should be fully prepped before the registration lottery, and possible H-1B alternatives for registrations that are not selected.

BAL attorneys will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, Dec. 14 entitled, “Developments Affecting H-1B Cap Season: Planning & Strategies for Your H-1B Program.”  To attend, register here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2021 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.