MUMBAI/BENGALURU: Probably for the first time ever, H-1B applicants who were not selected by the lottery process
in April have a second chance to be selected. This will be especially useful to students who are already in the US and who were to transition to an H-1B visa, say immigration experts
Immigration attorneys told TOI that the status of several pending applications has suddenly changed to 'selected'. Kripa Upadhyay
, managing partner at Orbit Law, said, "New H-1B visa selection notifications have been sent to sponsoring employers who e-registered for the prior lottery, but whose applications were not selected." H-1B applications have to be filed for candidates by the company that wishes to use them.
H-1B has an annual cap of 85,000. But the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically receives far more applications and so it conducts a lottery to determine who gets the visa. This year, there were 2.8 lakh registrations
, of which nearly 68% (or 1.9 lakh) were Indian beneficiaries.
Once the lottery selects 85,000 applications, sponsoring employers are required to file detailed visa applications for those selected. This year, owing to the pandemic-led slowdown in the economy and travel bans announced by president Donald Trump
for new H-1B visas, interest waned and companies did not follow through with the detailed filings.
"Regarding the H-1B 'second lottery,' I believe USCIS did not receive enough petitions from the selected cases to reach the 85,000 quota. They may also have factored in a percentage of denied cases," Daniel Maranci, Boston-based partner at law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loew told TOI.
Upadhyay said that while this is very good news for those in the US who are eligible to change status to H-1B, this still does not change the fact that the H-1B visa ban put in place by the Trump administration will continue to pose a challenge to employers and employees whose skills are required in the US but who do not meet the narrow criteria for travel ban exemptions in 'national interest'. TOI had reported on Friday that the US had relaxed the travel ban for H-1B visa holders who were outside the US.
As of now, the travel ban, for those not eligible under the relaxed norms, ends in December. Snehal Batra, managing attorney at NPZ Law Group
, pointed out that "It takes several weeks to file a detailed visa application and several months for approval (unless premium processing is opted for), so the timeline to obtain a visa is likely to be by the end of the year." Watch It's a first - a 2nd chance to crack H-1B lottery odds