The Electronic Lottery Process
Foreign national employees interested in working in the U.S. via an H-1B visa must go through the USCIS, the U.S. immigration agency. In 2020, this process was revised to an electronic version, making the petition easier for everyone.
Previously, a full visa petition was necessary before a potential employee could enter the lottery. As of 2020, employers could register an employee with a few key details. If the petition were selected in the lottery, the rest of the petition would be filed.
Selected vs. Not Selected
Petitioners who applied for the H-1B visa in time for the 2022 lottery were included in one of the two runs. Foreign national employees who were added to the system would receive their official status via their prospective employer’s contact information.
If you were selected in the lottery, your status will show Selected. However, if your petition wasn’t chosen, your status will change from Submitted to Not Selected.
When another lottery is pending, the status for those who were not already chosen remains Submitted. After the August 23, 2022 lottery, USCIS changed all remaining petitioners to Not Selected, which implies there won’t be any further lottery runs for the FY2023 H-1B visa.
Statistics for H-1B Visa Lotteries
Now that the H-1B lottery entry process has become streamlined and cheaper, more applicants are registering yearly. However, employers sponsoring foreign national workers have decreased by almost 10%. Many employers continue to sponsor work visas. The decline in sponsorship rates is attributed to the electronic process weeding out duplicate company entries.
How can the USCIS accurately assume the drop in employers willing to sponsor foreign nationals isn’t a sign of a trend? The increase in number of employee registrations continues to rise by 13%, and someone must sponsor those employees. It stands to reason that there are enough companies interested in hiring foreign national workers to register them.
However, although the number of registrations rose significantly, the approvals decreased by 7% from FY2021 to FY2022. The cap for selected H-1B visas is determined by the USCIS using historical data.
Another change in the lottery process since 2020 has been the addition of a second lottery. Typically, the predominant number of approvals occurs in the first lottery, with the second run used to fill the remainder of the petitions necessary to meet the cap.
You still have options if your visa petition wasn’t chosen for FY2023. Contact Visa2US to see if there are other visas that you may qualify for or other ways to get into the U.S. for 2023.