The H-1B lottery registration process will remain the same as last year with initial cap-subject H-1B eligibility being allocated by random selection, giving priority only to those with US master’s degrees.
When is the registration period?
The registration period opens at noon ET on March 6, 2024, and will close at noon ET on March 22, 2024.
Employers will be notified by March 31, 2024, of selected registrations and will then have 90 days to file an H-1B petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on the employee’s behalf.
What is the registration process?
Employers wishing to sponsor foreign national employees for initial cap-subject H-1B eligibility will complete an online registration that requests basic information about the sponsoring employer and the sponsored employee. There is a $10 fee per registration.
What foreign national employees should be sponsored?
Employers should immediately identify employees and begin working with immigration counsel to evaluate employees who will need H-1B sponsorship.
Employers should consider the following employees for H-1B sponsorship:
- Foreign national employees who are in F-1 student status and working pursuant to a period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion of a US degree program. OPT is generally limited to 12 months, although students who received a US degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) discipline may be eligible for an additional 24 months of employment authorization. Employment beyond the period of OPT is typically contingent on securing an H-1B.
- Employees in L-1 status, whom you are sponsoring for lawful permanent residency (or will sponsor in the future), but who are unlikely to receive a “green card” within the allotted period of admission (i.e., five years if in L-1B status or seven years if in L-1A status). Your Nixon Peabody legal professional can help evaluate H-1B options for your L-1 employees.
- Any potential employees currently abroad who you wish to employ in the United States.
In short, the H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification is for foreign national workers in “specialty occupations,” meaning occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge (generally by requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, in a specialized field relevant to the occupation).
If you have questions regarding whether or not a particular position qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” or if a foreign national’s education qualifies, please let us know.
What is the next step for employers?
If you are interested in employing a foreign national in the US, your Nixon Peabody professional can discuss with you the H-1B process further as well as other work authorization options that may be available (e.g., O-1, etc.).