It is time to start your planning for the next H-1B visa lottery. While the applications will be open for filing on the 1st of April, 2015, early preparation will once again be rewarded. The available visas are not looking very favorable, so filing the best case that you can may reward you with one of the coveted H-1B visa numbers.
This past year the raw data for selection in the lottery was about 50%. There were 172,500 H-1B petitions submitted into the lottery for 85,000 visa numbers to be selected by a random computer generated selection process. When the 20,000 visas allocated for US advanced degree cases is subtracted from the total allocation, the percentage chance for selection fell even further. The chances then of regular H-1B CAP selection were only 65,000/152,500 or 42.6%.
An accurate prediction of the demand for H-1B visas for this coming year will remain elusive. One must consider the pool of potential H-1Bs not selected from 2014 that may file again for this coming year, plus the new class of 2015 including graduates of US universities during the preceding year, and the impact that the economy will have on the demand for H-1B workers. Unemployment figures continue to drop on a national level, with the economy continuing to grow at a gradual rate. Without some dramatic change, the demand for H-1B visas for 2015 will likely be more than encountered in 2014, and should drop the percentage chance of selection further down from the 50% line.
Before initiating an H-1B visa petition process, a few basic matters need to be established. The applicant should know with certainty that they qualify for an H-1B specialty occupation either by having a Bachelor’s degree in the discipline or a combination of academic study and progressive professional experience in the job. Next the petition requires a willing and cooperative employer to be the petitioner for H-1B benefits that can offer the applicant a specialty occupation at the prevailing wage. Without a suitable employer petitioner, the matter cannot proceed.
It is recommended that these cases be undertaken at the end of 2014 or very early in 2015. Although the first day for filing is not until April 1, 2015, you must permit time for all matters to be secured and approved before filing. Consider that your lawyer or representative may have more than one case to be prepared and submitted for this quota, and also that agencies like USDOL have not been entirely reliable on timely approval of required matters for H-1B submission. Planning and advance preparation can make a difference between either timely filing or rejection for technical reasons.