March is an important month for employers seeking to secure H-1B cap visas for its current or future employees employed in specialty occupations. This includes foreign nationals employed on optional practical training (“OPT”) or STEM OPT. There is limited number of H-1B cap visas available each year. There is a cap of 65,000 new H-1B cap (6,800 for Chile/Singapore) and additional 20,000 available for foreign nationals who graduated from U.S. universities with a Master’s degree are higher degree. It is crucial for employers to act quickly and register their employees in the H-1B lottery.
Understanding H1-B visas
H-1B is a non-immigrant visa classification that applies to people in certain specialty occupations. A specialty occupation requires the attainment of bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the field. Specialty occupations include architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology and the arts.
Key Dates to note
There are several dates to keep on your radar in March to ensure that your employee has a chance at one of the available H-1B visas.
The initial registration period for the fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap,
- opens at noon Eastern on March 1; and
- runs through noon Eastern on March 18, 2022.
During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using our online H-1B registration system.
If USCIS doesn’t approve enough H-1B cases to meet the cap, there may be a another selection. In 2020 and 2021, there was another selection in August.
Do not miss the deadlines
If a company doesn’t register its future or current employees in the H-1B lottery between March 9 at noon eastern time and March 25th at noon eastern, the company will need to wait until the next year’s H-1B lottery registration period in March 2023.