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US To Conduct H-1B Visa Lottery In Order To Select Applicants

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| April 13 , 2018 , 16:08 IST

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services said on Friday that they would conduct a lottery to decide successful applicants for the work visa. In its latest release, USCIS states that on April 11, it used a computer-generated random selection process (lottery) to select enough H-1B applications to meet the quota caps.

Two lotteries were run. The first selected enough applications to meet the Master’s cap quota of 20,000. All unselected master’s cap petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap, explains USCIS in its statement. Thus, the second lottery chose from roughly 1.70 lakh applications. 

The number of applications for the H-1B visa, intensely depended upon by India’s tech industry, has fallen for the second year in a row. For the 2018-19 season (FY 2019), which would permit successful visa applicants to work in the United States (US) from October 1, the US agency received 1.90 lakh applications as against nearly 2 lakh applications last season.

drop by 8,902 applications or 4.5 percent as compared to 2017-18 is minuscule and shows the continued interest in this category of work visas.

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In 2013-14 the USCIS had to resort to a lottery mechanism, as the number of applications far exceeded the annual quotas. The number of applications had hit a peak in 2016-17 with 2.36 lakh applications.

USCIS had opened its doors to H-1B applications on April 2 and on April 6, it had announced that it had received enough H-1B applications to reach the general quota cap of 65,000 as well as the cap of 20,000 for advanced degree holders (from US universities) also known as the Master's cap. 

Fragomen, a global firm specialising in immigration laws states, "This year, general cap filings have roughly a 38 percent chance of selection in the lottery. The odds for the advanced degree cases are somewhat higher because these filings get a second chance for selection if they are not chosen in the initial lottery. The overall chance of selection this season is approximately 45 percent."

Reports suggested that the lottery system would impact a lot of Indian tech firms.