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It’s your first, second chance to break the H-1B lottery odds

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MUMBAI / BENGALURU: Probably for the first time, H-1B applicants who were not selected through the lottery process in April have a second chance to be selected. This will be especially helpful for students already in the US and who were going to transition to an H-1B visa, immigration experts say.
Immigration attorneys told TOI that the status of several pending applications has suddenly changed to “selected.” Kripa Upadhyay, Managing Partner at Orbit Law, said: “New H-1B visa selection notifications have been sent to sponsoring employers who electronically registered for the previous lottery, but whose applications were not selected.” H-1B applications must be submitted for candidates by the company that wishes to use them.
H-1B has an annual limit of 85,000. But the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) generally receives many more applications and therefore runs a lottery to determine who gets the visa. This year, there were 2.8 lakhs of registrations, of which almost 68% (or 1.9 lakh) were Indian beneficiaries.
Once 85,000 applications are selected by the lottery, sponsoring employers must submit detailed visa applications for those selected. This year, due to the slowdown in the economy caused by the pandemic and the travel bans announced by President Donald Trump on the new H-1B visas, interest waned and companies did not comply with detailed submissions.
“Regarding the ‘second lottery’ H-1B, I believe that USCIS did not receive enough requests from the selected cases to reach the 85,000 quota. They may also have taken into account a percentage of denied cases,” said Daniel Maranci, partner at Boston at The Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loew law firm told TOI.
Upadhyay said that while this is very good news for those in the US who are eligible to change status to H-1B, this still does not change the fact that the H-1B visa ban established by the administration Trump will continue to pose a challenge to employers and employees whose skills are required in the US but who do not meet the strict criteria for exemptions from the ‘national interest’ travel ban. TOI had reported on Friday that the United States had relaxed the travel ban for H-1B visa holders outside the United States.
As of now, the travel ban, for those who are not eligible under the relaxed rules, ends in December. Snehal Batra, Managing Attorney at NPZ Law Group, noted that “it takes several weeks to submit a detailed visa application and several months for approval (unless premium processing is opted for), so the timeframe is likely to obtain a visa is by the end of the year. ”

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