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USA H-1B Visa Lottery System

H-1B Visa Lottery System to Continue Till 31 December 2021

Published on : February 6, 2021

Key Highlights:

  • Overview
  • US Citizenship & Immigration Services
  • Trump-Era Diktat
  • Strategic Delay
  • More About the H-1B Visa
  • Homeland Security 
  • The Unfolding


Joe Biden administration has announced to continue with the US H-1B visa lottery system till December 31, 2021. It is to give the immigration department more time to test, develop and implement modifications to the registration system.

The US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)

The USCIS on January 7, under the Trump administration, had announced it would do away with the traditional H-1B visa lottery system.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It allows US companies to employ highly skilled foreign workers in speciality occupations. Technology companies in the US hire tens of thousands of such skilled workers from India and China.

Trump-Era Diktat

The above mentioned, Trump-era diktat was to come into effect from March 9 this year alongside prioritizing wages to protect American workers' economic interests. Both these immigration policy changes are now put on hold. 

The USCIS put out a statement to this effect on Thursday, 4th February 2021.

It said, "to give USCIS more time to develop, test, and implement the modifications to the H-1B registration system and selection process, DHS is delaying the effective date of this final rule from March 9, 2021, to December 31, 2021."

Strategic Delay

The said delay is to give adequate time to complete the testing, development and train staff. USCIS intends to conduct a public outreach program to ensure effective implementation. 

The final rule for H-1B selection and registration will be open in the upcoming FY 2022 H-1B cap season. It will also give stakeholders time to adjust to the new regulations.

More About the H-1B Visa

The USCIS issues a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas every year. Another 20,000 H-1B visas are given to international students having completed higher education from a US university in STEM subjects.

USCIS will publish a formal notification in the Federal Register on 8th February 2021.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The DHS wants to avoid disruption to the regulated public by ensuring the orderly and efficient administration of the H-1B visa allocations. They would like to minimize the technical risks resulting from compressed testing schedules.

DHS feels that the proposed delay is required to avoid confusion and disparate treatment of registrants. Moreover, USCIS needs to open a new registration period further down this year to ensure full compliance of the FY 2022 H-1B visa numerical allocation.

The Unfolding

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden had promised to lift the suspension on H-1B visas which the Trump administration had clamped on 31 December 2020. Finally, here’s the unfolding.

Topics: Work, USA




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