H-1B cap lottery selection rate for FY 2022 drops sharply

Not yet known whether USCIS will conduct a second selection to meet cap, as it did last year.

American employers filed more applications for H-1B work visas coveted by Indian tech professionals for the fiscal year 2022, but the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selected far fewer.

Employers submitted H-1B cap registrations for 308,613 for high skilled foreign workers for FY ending Sept, 30, 2022, a 12% increase over the FY 2021 filing season, according to latest USCIS data.

However, despite the increase in registrations, USCIS selected far fewer cases than it did in FY 2021 – just 87,500 registrations in the cap lotteries to meet the annual quota of 85,000, or 28% of the total number of registrations.

This year’s selection rate of 28% represented a significant decline over the previous year, when 124,415 registrations – or 45% — were selected from 274,237 total registrations received.

In recent years Indian tech professionals have been getting over 70 percent of the annual quota of 85,000 H-1B visas, including 20,000 for those  holding master’s or higher degree from US universities.

Read: H-1B visa approvals should be for six years: US expert (May 24, 2021)

In addition to receiving more registrations against the cap, the agency adjusted the formula it uses to determine the number of registrations needed to reach the cap.

It is not yet known whether USCIS will conduct a second selection of cap registrations, as it did last year, according to Fragomen, a leading US immigration law firm.

USCIS typically selects more petitions than are needed to meet the annual H-1B quota, to account for cases that are denied, rejected, withdrawn, or revoked.

But for FY 2022, USCIS revised the method it uses to determine the number of petitions needed to reach the annual cap, resulting in a lower rate of selection.

During the FY 2021 H-1B cap season, USCIS ran a second selection of registrations, after the initial selection did not yield enough petition filings to meet the cap.

The agency has not yet determined whether it will need to make a second selection this year, but could do so if the number of FY 2022 petitions received by June 30, the close of the filing period, falls short.

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