On Friday, November 19, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unexpectedly announced the results of a third H-1B cap lottery for the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) H-1B cap. The agency selected an additional number of H-1B registrations from the original submissions, which occurred during the registration period from March 9 to March 25, 2021.
As previously reported by Mintz, USCIS held open the possibility of subsequent H-1B selection periods for registrations submitted in March, if an insufficient number of H-1B petitions were filed with USCIS based on the initial lottery selections.
USCIS has determined that there were fewer filed H-1B petitions as compared to selected H-1B registrations in the prior two lotteries. As a result, USCIS selected an additional 16,753 registrations out of the roughly 190,000 unselected registrations from March in order to ensure that enough petitions are approved to fill the annual quota of 85,000.
For selected registrations, USCIS has provided a 90-day filing window. Petitioners may file H-1B cap petitions for selected registrations between November 22, 2021 and February 23, 2022.
This is the second year that the H-1B registration system has been utilized for the H-1B Cap process, and the first time that a third lottery has been held.
USCIS previously announced that 308,613 registrations were submitted by applicants in the initial March registration period. 87,500 registrations were selected in the first lottery on March 30, 2021, followed by 27,717 in the second lottery on July 29, 2021, and, as mentioned above, on Friday an additional 16,753 registrations were selected, bringing the FY2022 total to 131,908 selections or a final selection rate of 42.7%.
We do not expect USCIS to conduct any further lottery selections for the FY2022 H-1B cap. At this time, USCIS still has not yet rejected any H-1B registrations. Registrations that are not selected in the initial lottery will be held “in reserve” in the event that USCIS does not receive an H-1B petition for each selected registration. While there is a possibility that USCIS will hold subsequent lotteries and select some of those registrations that are held in reserve, it is unlikely that USCIS will conduct a fourth lottery.