Ask Sophie: What to do if selected/not selected in the H-1B lottery?


Here is another version An “Ask Sophie” advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are critical to spreading the knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” said Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. Whether you’re in People Ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in the next column.

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Dear Sophie,

After three attempts, I was finally selected in the H-1B lottery this year! What do we do next?

– Amazing winner

Dear Sophie,

I am on STEM OPT. My employer put me in the H-1B lottery for the third time this year but I was not selected again! what can i do?

– Lottery loser

Dear Wonder and Lottery

USCIS has received enough electronic lottery registrations to increase the number of H-1Bs that can be allocated in the new fiscal year.

Thank you both for reaching out! Your questions are on the minds of thousands of others in the same situation, so I wanted to put them together. My colleague Nadia Zadi and I offer some guidance on both of these questions in this podcast.

Yesterday, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has received enough electronic lottery registrations to reach the maximum number of H-1Bs that can be allocated in the new fiscal year. All employers can download the PDF confirmation through the USCIS portal if their candidate is selected and the attorney and employer are selected.

Advertisements for the election started pouring in before the end of the month, including weekends, Saturdays and Sundays. We don’t yet know how many H-1Bs were offered in this year’s lottery, but based on the percentages selected, many experts estimate that last year’s record-breaking 483,927 number could have been for 85,000 spots because the value of the master’s cap and regular cap option appears to have decreased for many employees.

Let me first dive a little deeper into the Wondering Question and give some insight into what recruiters and prospective candidates need to do now. Note – this is only a stepping stone to getting an H-1B, and being selected means you. You have the opportunity to applyTherefore, you should continue to pay careful attention to this process.

What do I do now that my H-1B application has been approved?

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

First of all, congratulations to you and your employer! This is a milestone for both of you. If you’re an international student in the US, this awesome move can give you a little extra comfort, especially if you’ve been in the lottery for several consecutive years.

You and your employer should familiarize yourself with the process and upcoming deadlines. Your employer will have at least 90 days until June 30, 2023 to file an H-1B petition on your behalf with USCIS. This requires first obtaining US Department of Labor (DOL) approval of a Labor Condition Agreement (LCA) to include with the H-1B application. For LCA, your employer agrees to pay you based on your job title and geographic location to ensure you are properly compensated. Your employer guarantees that hiring you will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of US workers.

You need to check the key details, and I recommend all employers work with immigration attorneys who have experience with H-1Bs – they are high stakes and the details are the real deal. Some things to consider are where you are in the world and your international travel plans, how long you will continue your status if you are in the US, if you are applying for a change of status or consular processing, and if so, if you plan to work from home or have multiple locations.

You can begin working on an approved H-1B on October 1, 2023, the beginning of the federal government’s fiscal year. Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is a two-year OPT extension for STEM graduates, or STEM OPT if you are an F-1 student and your final year of completed work authorization is scheduled to end before October 1st. It will be alright!


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