By Brad J. Hendrick and Ashlyn Kahler-Rios Attorneys On Wednesday, January 31, the United States…
Last week, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made several announcements regarding this year’s H-1B lottery. First, the 2024 lottery will be open for entries at 12 p.m. Eastern Time on March 6 through 12 p.m. Eastern Time on March 22.
Second, USCIS published a rule announcing modifications to the H-1B lottery. These changes will be effective for this year’s lottery. Specifically, USCIS is now tying the lottery selections to the individual beneficiary rather than to the company making the registration.
Under the new rules, a company or multiple companies can enter a beneficiary into the lottery. Rather than selecting a company’s individual registration, the actual individual beneficiary will be selected. In a case where multiple employers enter the same individual into the lottery, only one lottery entry will be counted, which is tied directly to the beneficiary. If the beneficiary is selected, all employers that placed a lottery entry on that individual’s behalf will be notified.
As a result of this change, any beneficiary who wants to be entered into the lottery must provide the same valid passport or travel document to every employer who will place an entry. Any person who attempts to increase odds of selection by using multiple passports or travel documents to enter the lottery will have all entries disqualified, just as any employer who tries to enter the same person twice will have all entries disqualified.
The rule was implemented in response to recent trends with the H-1B lottery and a particular spike in lottery entries in 2023. Under the previous rules, multiple employers could enter the same individual into the lottery, and each would count as its own distinct lottery entry. It has been alleged that companies were being formed purely for the purpose of entering people into the H-1B lottery. If these shell companies had an entry selected, they would file the H-1B and then attempt to contract the H-1B worker out to another company. As a result, it was possible for an individual beneficiary to have many entries placed, thereby increasing the odds of selection. This rule attempts to eliminate that option.
One item of note is that the H-1B lottery entry fee will remain $10 for this year’s lottery. While USCIS recently announced plans to increase the lottery entry fee from $10 to $215, the new USCIS fee schedule goes into effect on April 1, 2024, after this year’s lottery is held in March. Read more about the USCIS fee increases.
While we do not anticipate significant changes to the lottery entry process in March, we will post any relevant updates here, as well as information on the dates when the lottery will be open. If you have questions about the H-1B lottery or are interested in entering the H-1B lottery, please contact us.