USCIS Sees Significant Drop in H-1B Registrations for FY 2025 Season

Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts a lottery to allocate one of the most sought-after visas, the H-1B visa. We are all so used to hearing and seeing the effects of increased visa demand. With all the efforts the USCIS has been making to streamline the visa application process and processing capacity, we were all expecting a sharp increase in visa applications. 

In a recent announcement, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) disclosed intriguing insights into the FY 2025 H-1B Lottery season. Contrary to expectations, USCIS reported a substantial decline of 38.6% in the number of H-1B registrations received compared to the previous year. Let’s delve deeper into the details provided by USCIS and explore the implications of this substantial drop.

What is the H-1B Lottery?

Each year, USCIS conducts a lottery to allocate a limited number of H-1B visas to skilled foreign workers. Employers submit registrations on behalf of prospective employees, and USCIS randomly selects applicants to fill the available visa slots.

The FY 2025 H-1B Visa Season

The H-1B registration process for the FY 2025 season commenced on March 6th, 2024, and concluded on March 25th, 2024. Following this, USCIS announced the completion of the first round of the H-1B Lottery for the FY 2025 season on April 1st, 2024. During this initial phase, employers with selected applicants were granted the opportunity to file an H-1B petition between April 1st and June 30th, 2024.

Key Statistics of FY 2025 H-1B Registrations

The USCIS, while not issuing an official press release on the total number of H-1B registrations received, updated its H-1B Registrations page with insightful metrics for the FY 2025 season. The figures revealed a significant decrease in registration numbers compared to the previous fiscal year.

  • Total H-1B Registrations: A staggering total of 480,000 H-1B registrations were submitted for the FY 2025 season.
  • H-1B Beneficiaries Statistics: Approximately 442,000 unique H-1B beneficiaries or applicants were recorded, along with around 52,700 unique employers or H-1B sponsors.
  • Eligible Registrations: Of the total submissions, approximately 470,342 registrations were deemed eligible after accounting for duplicates, failed payments, and other discrepancies.
  • Single vs. Multiple Employer Registrations: Among the eligible registrations, roughly 423,028 applicants submitted only one H-1B registration with a single employer, while approximately 47,314 applicants filed multiple registrations with different employers.
  • Selected Beneficiaries: The USCIS selected 114,017 beneficiaries, resulting in a total of 120,603 H-1B registrations being selected. This surplus of selections beyond the H-1B cap quota aims to accommodate potential denials and non-filings.

Here is the registration and selection numbers released by the USCIS: 

USCIS Sees Significant Drop in H-1B Registrations for FY 2025 Season

[Source: USCIS H-1B Electronic Registration Process Site]

Understanding the Drop in Registrations

However, amidst the buzz surrounding the lottery, a significant decline in registrations surfaced. Compared to the previous FY 2024 season, which saw over 750,000 eligible registrations, FY 2025 witnessed a striking 38.6% reduction. This unexpected downturn puzzled many, especially considering anticipations of increased demand due to USCIS’s efforts to streamline visa processing.

Exploring Reasons for the Drop

USCIS attributes this decline to the implementation of a revamped lottery process for FY 2025. Additionally, factors such as duplicate registrations and failed payments further contributed to the lower turnout. Despite initial expectations, the numbers paint a different picture, prompting a reevaluation of the dynamics shaping H-1B visa applications.

H-1B Lottery Selection Odds

Other visa trackers have analyzed the numbers and a closer look at the registration-to-visa quota ratio provides insights into the odds of selection for FY 2025 applicants. The ratio indicates that for every available H-1B cap slot, USCIS received approximately 5.65 registrations, translating to a selection probability of 17.7%. This represents a notable shift from previous years, where the odds favored a higher percentage of selections.

Implications and Future Outlook

The reduced number of H1B registrations for FY 2025 raises concerns about the availability of skilled foreign workers in the U.S. job market. Employers relying on the H1B program to fill specialized roles may face challenges in sourcing talent. Furthermore, the decline in registrations underscores the need for continued scrutiny and potential revisions to the visa lottery process to ensure fairness and efficiency.

In conclusion, the USCIS’s revelation regarding the significant drop in H1B registrations for the FY 2025 season has sparked discussions within the immigration community. While the exact reasons for this decline remain to be fully understood, it is clear that the dynamics of the H1B visa program are evolving, necessitating ongoing evaluation and adaptation to meet the needs of both employers and foreign workers.