The H-1B program allows U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. Generally, any position which requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty may qualify as an H-1B specialty occupation, but high-demand fields for the competitive visas include science, engineering and information technology. There is an annual limitation of 65,000 visas, which are renewable for up to six (6) years (or longer in certain circumstances). An additional 20,000 visas are set aside exclusively for beneficiaries who hold a U.S. master’s or doctoral degree. These petitions are generally subject to a random lottery due to demand outpacing numerical limitations and compete for employment start dates of October 1st. In Fiscal Year 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received nearly 275,000 registrations between March 1st and March 20th. This was a 37% increase over the FY 2020 filing season.
For this year (Fiscal Year 2022), USCIS has just announced that the registration period will be slightly later and slightly shorter than last year. This year, the registration period will be from March 9, 2021 at noon EDT, through March 25, 2021 at noon EDT.