Fiscal year 2022’s H-1B CAP selection


Migrants to the US know that the H1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Examples of these occupations are architecture, engineering, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, medicine, and health. America is home to millions of migrant workers. Higher earnings enable expat professionals to remit online to support their families back home. These remittances are the economic lifelines of numerous families in developing nations. An H1B visa is the starting point for anyone wanting to work in the US.

H-1B CAP selection

H1B cap is the maximum number of H1B visas that the USCIS can issue in a fiscal year. H1B Cap is the annual limit set by the US Congress. The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) recently confirmed that the H-1B cap process for FY 2022 would largely remain the same as 2021. Employers will register prospective H-1B workers for the lottery during a 2-week registration period from March 9, 2021, to March 25, 2021.

Lottery selection

USCIS introduced the concept of random selection (lottery selection) to address situations of high demand. USCIS usually selects the required number of applications to meet the annual quota of 85,000. If the number of registrations exceeds the quota (which usually happens), USCIS conducts the “registration lottery” and randomly selects the number of registrations needed to reach the H-1B cap.

After the initial registration period closes, USCIS notifies the selected registrants electronically. Registrations that are not selected in the lottery remain on reserve for the applicable fiscal year. If USCIS needs to select more registrants to meet the cap, it selects from the reserve, and there is a follow-up lottery.

The selection process

USCIS conducts the initial selection process after the registration period ends. Employers seeking H-1B workers must complete a registration process. It requires only basic information about their company and each requested worker. This year the USCIS registration period was from March 9 through March 25. The H-1B random selection process will be run on those electronic registrations. The regular cap lottery is conducted first, followed by the US master’s cap lottery. Individuals with a US master’s degree have an even higher chance of being selected. USCIS has said that the odds of selecting advanced degree holders are up to 16% higher than the old ordering system.

The regular cap lottery includes all cap-subject registrations, including master’s degree holders. Some master’s registrations are selected in the regular cap without entering into the master’s lottery. Thereafter all unselected master’s registrations are entered into the master’s lottery.

Who needs to take notice of new information?

H-1B sponsoring employers can access the USCIS registration system to determine the outcome of the FY 2022 cap lotteries. For the registrations selected in the lottery, the employers must file a petition. This will move on to the adjudication stage, meaning it will be processed. USCIS notifies account holders of the results of the selection process by March 31. A registrant’s USCIS online account shows one of the following statuses per registration:

  • Submitted: This means the applicant’s registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection.
  • Selected: This means the applicant has been selected to file an H-1B cap petition.
  • Not Selected: This means that the applicant is not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration.
  • Denied: This means that multiple registrations were submitted for the same registrant and beneficiary, making it invalid.
  • Invalidated-Failed Payment: This means that registration was submitted, but there was an issue with the payment (declined, not reconciled, or otherwise invalid).

Changes from previous years

In previous years the USCIS was accepting the physical H1B application package. The H1B season used to start on April 1. Since the introduction of the registration process, the dates have changed to handle the new online process and lottery. In the past, petitions were fully prepared and filed by employers with a fee of $10 and supporting documents. With the recent changes, employers do not send the H1B Package. They submit H1B registrations (for their applicants) through the music portal. The electronic registration process has streamlined processing. It has reduced paperwork and data exchange. It has also brought overall cost savings to employers.

About the author:

Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.