What ought to we all know in regards to the H-1B lottery earlier than we rent STEM OPTs?

Right here’s one other version of “Expensive Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at expertise firms.

“Your questions are very important to the unfold of information that enables individuals all around the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in individuals ops, a founder or in search of a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to answer your questions in my subsequent column.”

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Expensive Sophie,

What do I and my founding staff at our early-stage startup want to concentrate on so we may be on monitor for the subsequent H-1B lottery for the STEM OPT candidates we’re hiring?

— Robust Strategizer

Expensive Robust,

Congrats — it’s solely August and you might be up to the mark! Glad you’re planning now so that you may be on monitor and have easy seas and clear skies forward for the subsequent spherical of H-1Bs. It’s tremendous essential now, as we simply had some current H-1B lottery updates and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers (USCIS) remains to be working by fairly deep case backlogs. By beginning now, you may maximize your skill to retain your expertise.

Simply this week, USCIS introduced that they’re finished deciding on individuals for the April 2022 lottery. There was an digital registration course of in March for all of the individuals who needed to be chosen for H-1Bs in April, and so they had been all hopefuls for an October 1, 2022 H-1B begin date.

For the previous a number of years since USCIS established the March digital lottery system, they’ve underestimated the variety of chosen H-1B registrants whose petitioners would observe by and submit the total I-129 petition for the H-1B by the June 30 deadline. So, in prior years, USCIS held a number of registrant choice processes — in July, September and past — to fill the remaining spots obtainable for H-1Bs for the fiscal 12 months earlier than the federal government reached the restrict.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

We had been all shocked in July this 12 months when no second choice course of occurred. This week, USCIS confirmed that they acquired sufficient H-1B petitions to fulfill this 12 months’s restrict, and so they modified all people else’s standing of their system to “Not Chosen” this week.

It’s doubtless they’re getting higher statistical estimates of the petition charge, and what number of registrants to pick to maximise the 85,000 complete annual H-1B cap-subject visas. Subsequent 12 months and past, it’s doubtless that each one registrants will probably be chosen in March, and that no additional choice intervals will probably be held all through the summer time or fall.

Now let’s dive into every thing you need to take note when making use of for STEM OPT and getting ready for subsequent 12 months’s H-1B lottery. As , STEM OPT (Elective Sensible Coaching) is the two-year extension of OPT for people on an F-1 pupil visa whose discipline of examine is on the list of STEM-designated degrees.

Timing is essential

The earliest a candidate can apply for STEM OPT is 90 days earlier than the present 12-month OPT EAD (Employment Authorization Doc) is about to run out. I like to recommend that they submit their software as early as doable.

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