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It’s H-1B visa season! A time when the government allows all businesses in the entire nation an incredibly narrow window of opportunity to hire the most talented recent graduates from around the world. Why recruit and attract young adults from around the world with advanced educations and technological skills at any time of the year when we can restrict the opportunity to a 2-week window in March, you ask? Because the government said so! If it doesn’t make sense to you, just know you’re not alone.

So, if you’re in the market to sponsor a highly skilled worker and can’t get one of the thousands of IT professionals on the market following mass layoffs in Silicon Valley but have found a recent graduate from a U.S. university who wants to work for you, here’s H1B visa tips you need to know:

Is an H-1B visa right for me? 

H-1B visas are only available for highly skilled workers with specialized degrees—think engineers, lawyers, financial consultants, and specialized business professionals. If the job doesn’t require a specialized degree to perform the duties, then an H-1B visa is probably not in the cards. That doesn’t mean there are no other options, though. You should certainly call Thompson Coe to discuss!

The lottery is only for new H-1B visas. 

If you have a current employee or are hiring a lateral who has an H-1B visa already, getting a visa, or extending a visa, for them, there is a different process.

If you want a new H-1B visa you MUST (no wiggle room here!) apply for the H-1B lottery.

It’s not the full H-1B application, but you or your lawyer/Thompson Coe will need to register with USCIS and submit an application for the lottery. The lottery for H1B visas opens at the beginning of March and stays open for about two weeks. You can’t apply earlier or later. The cost is likely to be $10 to submit your lottery application for each position you are offering to a foreign worker. If you don’t get the application submitted during this time period, you’re out of luck for new H-1B visas in 2023. You read that correctly—if you miss the lottery, you’ll need to wait until 2024 because of the government’s mindless immigration policy.

The odds are not in your favor (sorry).

Historically, about 1 in 2 to 1 in 3 lottery applications are selected. This is probably true for 2023, but the odds change annually based on the number of applications submitted. We won’t know until the lottery is over. The only certainty is that a lot of applications will not get selected. If you have a good recent graduate who is on OPT and can lawfully work for a few more years because it’s a STEM job, don’t wait until the last year. Apply every year until you’re successful.

What happens if you win? 

Congratulations – you won the lottery! Now you get to apply for the actual visa, which you must do so by June. The government is considering significant increases in fees. Typically, fees with legal costs are around $5,000 to apply. That might increase to $6,000-7,000 depending on approval of newly issued regulations.

You got the visa!

 If all is successful, you’ve made it through H-1B season. The visa will start no earlier than October 1, 2023 and should last about 3-years.

Questions or need help with an H-1B visa this year?

Call or email me to discuss.

Thompson Coe and myHRgenius Tip of the Week is not intended as a solicitation, does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


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Kevin M. Mosher

Kevin M. Mosher


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