The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached a remarkable milestone for its H-1B visa program in the fiscal year (FY) 2024—it met the congressionally mandated caps of 65,000 (regular H1-B visas) and 20,000 for the US advanced degree exemption or master’s cap. Those who were not selected can expect a notification from the USCIS on their online accounts soon. If this concerns you, take the time to check your online account to know your status or talk to a green card lawyer in New York for advice.
Changes in the H-1B lottery have been more significant these days, with 2024 bringing remarkable changes that can be worrisome for some employers and prospective employees. As an employer, understanding these updates will help you make informed choices when hiring foreign workers.
But what does it mean for applicants and those who were not selected? Keep reading to learn more about the updates and changes on the H-1B visa cap for FY 2024.
About the H-1B visa
The H-1B visa’s lottery system allows a select number of foreign professionals to be employed in specialty occupations in the US.
The H-1B visa is critical for hiring skilled workers who can contribute to the American economy and address areas with limited qualified domestic workers. Every year, the number of projected registrations increases, but the USCIS randomly selects applicants in the interest of fairness.
These visas are limited and in high demand, so applicants must be careful with their registration. In addition, the USCIS has a specific H-1B registration process you must follow for eligibility. Any mistake—such as incorrect details or an invalidated or failed payment—can compromise a selected registration.
What’s in store for 2024?
The USCIS has made substantial changes in its H-1B lottery system. The registration period for FY 2024 showed a surge in numbers due to multiple eligible registrations from tech companies looking to maximize their odds.
The USCIS remains committed to maintaining the integrity of the country’s immigration systems, so it launched extensive measures to counter the problem—including fraud investigations that resulted in revoked petitions. In addition, law enforcement referrals have become more stringent, leading to stricter enforcement conditions for corporate applications.
The USCIS did two rounds for FY 2024. The first one did not produce enough registrations, so a second lottery was necessary to meet the H-1B cap. This resulted in 780,884 registrations, which is significantly more than the previous fiscal year.
Notifications and status updates for non-selected applicants
Those who registered but were not chosen for the FY 2024 H-1B numerical allocations will find a ‘Not Selected’ status in their online accounts. This means they are not eligible to file the H-1B cap petition according to this registration. The USCIS is ensuring a transparent selection process by sending non-selection notifications promptly.
Continued processing and exemptions
Although the USCIS has reached its cap, it will continue to take and process petitions that are eligible for the cap exemptions. Your petition may be exempt if you’re currently an H-1B worker previously counted against the cap and still have a cap number. Additionally, the USCIS will continue accepting and processing petitions for these purposes:
- Change employment terms for current H-1B workers
- Extend a current H-1B worker’s time to remain in the US
- Allow existing H-1B workers to change their employers
- Allow current H1-B workers to concurrently work in extra H-1B positions
Specialty occupations under the H-1B program
Those with ongoing H-1B petitions are responsible for keeping themselves informed by subscribing to the email updates for the H-1B cap season. To subscribe, visit the USCIS website and look for the H-1B Cap Season page.
Updates on the FY 2024 H-1B visa caps represent critical changes for potential visa applicants. If you are among these applicants or petitioners, keep yourself updated on the non-selection notifications, ongoing petition processing, and cap exemptions. Subscribe to the USCIS’ H-1B cap season emails on its website to get timely updates, and consult a green card lawyer in New York if you encounter any issues.
Do you need a green card lawyer?
Navigate work visa issues with a full-service immigration law firm like Berd & Klauss, PLLC. The firm handles a wide range of immigration cases and has a track record of helping businesses employ foreign national employees. Call 212-461-7152 to book a consultation with a green card lawyer in New York.