New Changes in the H-1B Visa Lottery System: What Employers and Employees Need to Know

The H-1B visa system has undergone significant changes in the past year, which are reshaping the way employers and employees approach the application process. These changes have led to a substantial drop in applications and have introduced new rules to prevent fraud and abuse. Here’s a detailed look at what has changed and how it impacts both employers and prospective employees.

Understanding the H-1B Visa System

The H-1B visa is the most common work visa in the United States, allowing employers to hire skilled workers who hold at least a bachelor’s degree for positions requiring such qualifications. Traditionally, there are 65,000 H1B visas available each year, with an additional 20,000 reserved for those holding advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. This totals 85,000 visas annually, while the number of applicants has often exceeded 400,000.

Key Changes in the H-1B Lottery System

The most significant change in the H1B visa lottery system is the restriction to a single application per applicant. Previously, individuals could apply multiple times if they had multiple job offers, leading to an inflated number of applications. This change aims to curb the submission of duplicate applications, which had previously led to over 700,000 applications for just 85,000 visas.

The new rules now require each applicant to submit their documents, such as passports and IDs, to verify their identity. This verification process is designed to prevent the abuse and fraud that had become prevalent in the system. As a result of these changes, there has been a 40% drop in applications this year.

The Impact on Employers and Employees

For employers, these changes mean a more streamlined process with fewer duplicate applications to sift through. This is particularly beneficial for legitimate employers who need skilled workers to fill essential roles. Employers should consider widening their search and looking into other visa types that might be appropriate for their needs.

For prospective employees, especially those in the tech sector which has seen significant layoffs, the new rules necessitate a proactive approach. Applicants should start their job search early, even before H-1B visas are available, and explore other visa options if they meet the qualifications. For example, the O-1 visa does not have a cap and can be applied for at any time.

Recommendations for Navigating the New Landscape

Explore Alternative Visas: Besides the H-1B visa, consider other options like the O-1, TN, or E-3 visas depending on your nationality and qualifications.

Be Proactive: Employers should start recruiting early and look for potential hires in universities and through networking events. Prospective employees should begin their job search and networking efforts well in advance of the H-1B application period.

Stay Informed: Keep up to date with the latest changes in the H-1B visa system by following reliable sources and immigration law channels. Changes in deadlines, application procedures, and eligibility criteria can significantly impact your application process.

Plan for the Future: Discuss with your employer the possibility of starting the Green Card process early. You do not need an H1B visa to initiate this process, and it can be started while you are still in school, working for another employer, or even from overseas if you have secured a job.


The recent changes in the H-1B visa lottery system are designed to create a fairer and more efficient process by reducing fraud and duplicate applications. Employers and employees must adapt to these changes by exploring alternative visas, being proactive in their application efforts, and staying informed about new developments. By planning ahead and considering all available options, both parties can better navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.

Contact Information

If you or your family members have any questions about how immigration and nationality laws in the United States may affect you, or if you want to access additional information about immigration and nationality laws in the United States or Canada, please do not hesitate to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can reach us by emailing or by calling us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. We also invite you to visit our website at for more information.