US firm Tully Rinckey says it has seen an increase in employer demand around H-1B visas, but is encouraging clients to start the process early.
The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows US companies to employ credentialed professional workers in specialty occupations in fields including, but not limited to, computer technology, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science and medicine.
There is a 65,000 annual limit for new H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 reserved for advanced degree professionals who have a US Masters’ degree or higher.
A lottery will be held if demand exceeds the annual limit.
However, the application period now takes longer and it is advisable to apply as soon as possible.
“The American economy is booming and we have seen a massive increase in demand from companies interested in taking advantage of the new lottery system,” said US lawyer Michael Freestone, who oversees Tully Rinckey’s corporate immigration practice.
Freestone routinely advises large multinational companies on global mobility strategies.
“The changes show positive signs for graduates of USA masters’ programmes, that America values skilled labour and higher education.”
The new system divides the lottery process into two, with the first lottery for US Masters’ degree candidates and second for all applicants including the remaining masters’ degree candidates.
A large number of workers will be selected who have not received this level of degree, so companies should not be discouraged from pursuing H-1B Visas for their employees, Tully Rinckey says.
In addition, the new US Citizenship and Immigration Services electronic portal gives employers real- time oversight and offers a simplified initial registration process with e-filing now live.
USCIS says the initial registration period will run from March 1 through March 20, 2020. The H-1B lottery will be then be run before March 31, 2020.