Thousands of applicants who applied for the H-1B lottery for the fiscal year 2024 but were not selected have anxiously awaited the announcement of a second round of lottery. Their prayers were answered when on July 27, the USCIS announced the agency is planning to conduct a second round of lottery.
The announcement of a second round of lottery may sound confusing, especially for new applicants to the H-1B process.
Here, we break down everything you need to know about the H-1B lottery process, from the first round to the second round:
To begin with, the USCIS conducted the first round of lottery on March 24, and the results were announced by March 27. This year saw a record number of applications, 781,000 in all.
Now, the question arises: If the allotted number of applications was already surpassed, why and how was a second round of lottery required?
READ: USCIS set to change H-1B lottery process (May 1, 2023)
The answer is not straightforward. One possibility is that not all employers who applied are now filing petitions. Another reason could be the shrinking job market in the US, especially in the tech sector, due to multiple mass layoffs in the past year. Many IT companies in the country have implemented hiring freezes, leading to job offers being rescinded for many candidates.
This situation created the need for a second lottery. USCIS stated in a press release that based on the total number of submitted petitions and its analysis, the agency decided to select additional H-1B registrations to meet the FY 2024 season cap of 85,000.
READ: Selected in H-1B registration lottery? What next (April 19, 2023)
The second round of the lottery will now select additional H-1B registrations from the pool of previously submitted applications. So, some applicants who were not initially selected now have a chance to be picked.
Once the new set of selected applications is announced, the myUSCIS account of the candidates will be updated, and they can download the selection notification, which will provide details on when and where to file.
However, the USCIS has not yet released a date for the second round of the lottery. Based on the trend in previous years, the USCIS is likely to conduct the second lottery sometime between now and August.