The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have been updating the H-1B Visa program to make it more accessible to international graduates and foreign workers alike. President Joe Biden let the ban on the H-1B Visa and a few other visa categories expire naturally in March 2021.
The H-1B Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for highly skilled foreign workers in specific professions. This visa is also available to international graduates in the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
What Updates Have Been Announced by the USCIS for the H-1B Visa?
The first and foremost update is that the USCIS is planning to conduct a second lottery for H-1B Visa applicants. The USCIS issues 85,000 H-1B visas every year, including an additional 20,000 visas for Masters' degree holders.
In 2020, the USCIS received over 267,000 applications, most of them from East Indian applicants. The first lottery held in June did not meet the quota mandated by the US Congress. The USCIS will conduct a second lottery for H-1B Visas to offer the remaining applicants a chance.
According to the USCIS, historical data related to approvals, denials, revocation, and other factors determined the number of H-1B Visas issued every year. Applicants may apply for the second lottery by filing a petition between August 2 to November 3, 2021.