H1B Lottery 2019

In order to understand the H-1B visa lottery, you should first know what the H-1B visa is. It is a temporary work visa granted to foreign nationals by the Government of the United States of America. It is considered to be a visa issued for specialty occupations. The worker’s employer should apply for the visa on his or her behalf. The visa is provided based on the assumption that the work that the employee will perform requires theoretical and practical application of very specific knowledge. The occupations that are considered include engineering, information technology, and science. All H-1B visa applications are subject to a lottery system.

H-1B Visa Lottery – FY2019

The US Government Department responsible for issuing visas, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, informs people through its website regarding the status of the visa lottery. Each year, there is a cap for the maximum number of visas that can be issued. This cap is mandated by the US Congress that has to be adhered to.

Since the US receives a number of petitions each year for the H-1B visa, the lottery system is used to pick which petitions get considered. The cap for the H-1B category as of FY19 is 65,000. But, out of this, since the US has an agreement with Chile and Singapore, those two countries receive up to 6,800 visas out of those 65,000. Even if some of those are unused, they are not made available for people from the rest of the world, instead those unused visas are only available the next year. Therefore, the actual number of available visas for Indians or other nationals wishing to apply for a H-1B is lesser.

What happens after the petitions have been received?

Once the petitions have been received by the last date for application, the department will not process the remaining ones. The remainder will be rejected and the filing fees will be returned to the applicants. For FY2019, the number of eligible petitions considered were 94,213 for the regular cap and 95,885 for the Master’s exemption. These numbers were reached by 6 April 2018 even though the department began accepting petitions only from 2 April 2018.

Is the number of petitions restricted strictly to 65,000?

Yes, but there are a number of exemptions to this. H-1B workers who work in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are exempt from the cap, as are workers in Guam. This is subject to the condition that their employers file petitions for their visas by the end of December 2019. Also, only fresh applications will be subjected to the cap. For the benefit of those H-1B workers already in the US, petitions for the following will be entertained without being considered towards the cap:

  • Extensions of existing visas
  • Change in employers and/or employment conditions
  • Permission to work in a concurrent, second position that will also fall under the same visa category

There is also something called the Master’s cap or the exemption granted for advanced degrees. This includes people who have completed their Master’s degrees in the US and have applied for a work visa. The applications received from these people will not count towards the regular cap. The number of such applications that can be received is capped at 20,000.

Related Article About H1B Visa


News About H1B Lottery 2017

  • Additional rules for H1-B lottery process

    The U.S. Government, under President Trump, has introduced stricter rules for H-1B visa processing. This adds more paperwork for the most in-demand visa for Indians wishing to work in the United States. There is a lottery process to be eligible for the H-1B visa and just to be eligible for this lottery, the applications have to be pre-registered electronically. Then, once the winners of the lottery have been announced, full-fledged paperwork will have to be filed. This will make an already complex process even more cumbersome for IT companies wishing to bring their employees to the United States. This change is particularly significant for India and Indians because over 60% of all H-1B visas issued by the United States of America goes to Indians. The rules also make it tougher to get visas for those without an advanced degree in the U.S.

    28 November 2018

  • Former director of Infosys believes new rules in H-1B visa program won’t affect Indian IT companies

    With the US government all set to introduce new rules in their H-1B visa program, there has been apprehension among the ones who intend to travel to the country. However, Mohandas Pai, the former Infosys director and Chairman of Manipal Global Education TV believes that the move will not have a significant impact. He stated that the new rules will affect only those who abuse the system and not the ones which are law abiding. As per the new rules, an applicant will need to possess atleast a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to avail the visa. This was announced by US Citizenship & Immigraton Services in a press release on February 22. It needs to be mentioned that H-1B visa is needed by employers to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations like in the field of sciences, engineering, mathematics, arts etc.

    9 March 2018

  • PM Modi and President Trump to talk about visa issues and defence issues

    The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, will be having a meeting at the White House to discuss multiple issues being faced by both the nations.

    PM Modi is most probably going to persuade President Trump to enhance the visa issues for technology workers of India. Currently, there is a lot of confusion about the sanctioning of H-1 B visas.

    The Prime Minister of India may also have discussions with President Trump regarding the purchase of 100 armed Predator drones that are manufactured by General Atomics, an organisation based in California.

    Both the leaders may also have talks about tackling terrorism in South Asia and other regions.

    29 June 2017

  • Issue being raised by India regarding visa with key nations: Commerce Secretary

    The issue of H-1B visa is being raised by India with certain nations. The country is looking for changes regarding the confusion that commonly occurs regarding permits for temporary movement of professionals with a more varied immigration issue. Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that they believe certain countries are confusing modes of supply with respect to services trade especially concerning Mode 4 with immigration.

    She also said that while countries are entitled to decide policies regarding immigration but movement of individuals regarding work is a different issue.

    11 May 2017

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