H-1B cap season is just around the corner. And while next year’s economic outlook is uncertain, employers should expect demand for high-skilled workers to remain elevated.

Employers are encouraged to begin H-1B planning now and should anticipate heavy competition for job candidates, many of whom will 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.

Key Points:

  • Petitioners must submit an electronic registration for each prospective H-1B candidate.
  • Last cap season, the registration period ran from March 1-18. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has yet to announce the time during which it will accept registrations for the upcoming year.
  • 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 during the 90-day period beginning April 1.

Additional Information: USCIS received a record 483,927 H-1B registrations last cap season and selected 127,600 registrants to submit H-1B petitions. Because USCIS selected more registrations than it had in the previous two years, it did not run a second lottery following the initial filing period.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said it will propose a rule to “modernize” certain H-1B requirements and oversight; however, the most recent regulatory agenda indicated that the agency is targeting May 2023 to publish a proposed regulation. Since the regulatory process typically takes several months, any changes are not expected to affect the FY 2024 cap season.

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 will host a webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 26, titled “H-1B Planning: Current Trends and What to Expect This Cap Season.” More information is available here.

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

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