By March 27, 2021, USCIS has completed its random lottery and announced its selection of 85,000 H1-B petitioners out of over 275,000 registrations received this year. these petitioners can now submit lengthy, detailed petitions before the deadline on June 30, 2021. If all goes well and the petition goes through without an RFE, these chosen petitioners can begin work in the U.S. starting October, 1, 2021.
Not Selected – There’s Still Hope For Another H-1B Lottery This Year
While a sufficient number of registrations have been selected to meet the H-1B quota this year, they could be rejected, outright denied by USCIS or not even fully submitted by the sponsoring employer at all. This would mean a second round of selection to meet the remaining unused H1-B visas. USCIS can conducted future rounds anytime until September 30, 2021.
For those petitioners that were not selected in the first round of lottery conducted this March, there is hope as USCIS might still distribute thousands of unused H-1B visas in the second round.
Not Selected In The H-1B Lottery This Year – Here Are Some Alternative Visa Options
- For High-Level Managers & Professionals
Many of the beneficiaries are already professionals in the much sought after STEM fields. Many of these employees will be eligible for another type of work visa permissible in the U.S. Some alternative options include:
- L1-A or L1-B visa: intra-company transfers;
- TN visa: for Canadian & Mexican citizens;
- E-3 visa: for Australian citizens;
- H1-B1 visa: for Singapore & Chile citizens;
- O-1 visa: for individuals with extraordinary ability
- For International Students
Many beneficiaries could enroll in Master’s programs in the U.S. and request for a F1 student visa.
Current graduate students who did not get selected in the H1-B lottery may be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization. If an employer is willing to ‘employ’ on OPT, they can work for a U.S. employer for 12 to 17 months.
If the student has graduated from a U.S. university with a Master’s degree, particularly in the STEM field, may be able to extend their OPT work authorization for an additional 24 months if their employer is enrolled in E-Verify.
You can qualify for a J1 visa and acquire trainee status under a U.S. employer until the next H1-B lottery is conducted.
- Spousal Visa
If the beneficiary has a spouse with their own independent nonimmigrant status in the U.S. and has an I-140 approved already, then he may be eligible to work as a dependent. H-4 visa holders are eligible to work in the U.S. with an approved H4 EAD visa.
Similarly, spouses of L1, J1, E1, E2, and E3 visas are eligible to work with the right work authorization paperwork.
- Work Remote
Employers that might have offices abroad like in Canada, for example can have the beneficiary work at their affiliate offices for a period of time. This gives them a chance to explore the H1-B visa again the next time and yet work from their own offices.
Again, countries like Canada offers Canadian work permits in 4-8 weeks and permanent residency in about a year. This may prompt the employee to continue working form there.
- Family Sponsorship
Families already U.S. citizens can sponsor a green card for immediate family members (spouse or parent) and then they can work in the U.S. Although not immediately, but over time this is also a legitimate path to employment in the U.S.
- EB-5: Investment Visa
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa allows for an immediate green card if approved.
- Other Alternatives
Asylum, DACA & Temporary Protected Status (TPS) might be an option for citizens of some countries like Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen but not an option for countries like India and China which supply the majority of H1-B skilled labor to the U.S.
Stay tuned to this space to see if USCIS announces another round of H1-B lottery this year, else there are always the above alternative visa options available.