A Second Drawing for H-1B Lottery?

USCIS released the number of H-1B registrations for H-1B FY 2025 recently.  The government received 470,342 eligible registrations for this year’s lottery, representing a 38% decrease from 758,994 entries last year.  The number of H-1B applicants participating in the lottery is quite stable. Approximately 442,000 workers applied this year, compared with 446,000 last year.  Similarly, the number of employers this year was approximately 52,700, comparable to last year's number of  approximately 52,000. 

Significantly, the number of eligible registrations for workers with muliple registrations dropped significantly from 408,891 last year to 47,314 this year. This indicates that the government's "one-person-one-chance" policy is effective. 

Is a second drawing possible? Last year, USCIS selected 110,791 registrations in the initial drawing for FY 2024, which is lower than previous years, because the agency expected a higher anticipated petition filing rate last year and also higher approval rates of H-1B visas by overseas consulates.  As a result, a 2nd drawing was needed to use up the H-1B cap.  This year, USCIS selected 120,603 registrations in the first draw, which is also a smaller number than in previous years.  Because selection is based on unique beneficiaries, USCIS again expected a higher petition filing rate this year.  However, 120,603 is 9,812 greater than last year's initial number, leaving less visa numbers for a second draw.

However, a second drawing is still a real possibility based on economic data and anecdotal evidence.  The recent numbers of initial unemployment filings are on the rise, indicating that the job market is finally cooling down. We have clients who are considering dropping some selected cases for workers who are non-performers. Hence, it is likely that the petition filing rate may not be as high as anticipated.  If so, there may be unused H-1B visa numbers after the initial filing window ending in June is closed.  Of course, this is a double-edge sword, a deteriorating economy may also mean that employers are less likely to continue sponsorship even if a worker's registration is selected in the second drawing.  

(Source: USCIS.gov)

(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule a legal consultation.)  


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