In what can be good news for hundreds of Indian IT professionals seeking the H-1B work visa, the US' immigration agency has decided to conduct a rare second lottery for the most sought-after visas to decide on the successful applicants who could not make it in the first random selection.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Thursday that a decision was taken after determining that the computerised draw of lots for H-1B visas conducted early this year did not give them enough numbers of the Congressional mandated H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa, the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
“We recently determined that we needed to select additional registrations to reach the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 numerical allocations. On July 28, we selected previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process,” the USCIS said in a statement.
“The petition filing period based on registrations selected on July 28 will begin on August 2 and close on November 3. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details of when and where to file,” it said.
The move by the USCIS to conduct the second lottery will provide another chance to several applicants, including hundreds of Indian IT professionals, who could not make it in the first random selection.
The federal agency said that only those petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2022 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2022 was from April 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021.
The USCIS said an H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed at the correct service centre and within the filing period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice.
Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions. Petitioners filing H-1B petitions must do so by paper and must include a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petition.
“Registration selection only indicates that petitioners are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions; it does not indicate that the petition will be approved," the USCIS said.
"Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still submit evidence and establish eligibility for petition approval based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements,” the USCIS added.