USCIS Announces Record FY2022 H-1B Cap Lottery Results: 308,613 Registrations Filed
The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has officially announced the H-1B cap registration results for fiscal year 2022 (FY2022). As we previously predicted, there was a record number of H-1B cap lottery filings this year, resulting in a much lower rate of selection than in previous years. The USCIS has reported 308,613 unique registrations for FY2022, compared to an average of 220,200 cap submissions over the last five years. Over 37,000 prospective H-1B petitioners submitted registrations in this year’s lottery. The increased volume is in large part to the new electronic registration process introduced last year, which makes it much easier and less expensive to "play the lottery."
The USCIS selected 87,500 registrations to reach the annual quota, and it is likely that USCIS will run a second lottery to select a smaller number of registrations, as they did last year for the FY2021 lottery. This is due to the number of selected registrations where an H-1B petition is ultimately not filed for the beneficiary, for reasons such as rescinded or withdrawn job offers.
The report also provided additional details on last year’s FY2021 H-1B cap lottery season, for which they initially estimated roughly 275,000 unique registrations. For FY2021, the USCIS received 274,237 H-1B registrations and selected 106,100 registrations in an initial lottery to reach the annual quota. The second lottery conducted in August 2020, resulted in an additional 18,315 registrations for a total of 124,415 selected registrations for FY2021.
The annual numerical limitation on H-1Bs (the "cap") allocates a total of 85,000 new H-1Bs each year. 20,000 of these are reserved for advanced degree holders graduating from U.S. universities, and 6,800 are reserved for nationals of Chile and Singapore pursuant to free trade agreements with those countries. The USCIS reports that 48% of the cap registrations submitted this year were for U.S. advanced degree holders. Although the USCIS has not published statistics on the likelihood of being selected, based on our own figures thus far, we estimate that the likelihood of being selected in the advanced degree category was approximately 31%. The odds of being selected for persons without U.S. advanced degrees was approximately 22%. Note that these odds will likely improve somewhat after the ‘second lottery’ takes place, which we expect will happen later this summer.
The registrations not selected in this year’s initial lottery in March will be held in reserve until the USCIS has confirmed it has sufficient numbers to meet the annual quota for new H-1Bs. We will notify our clients immediately if the USCIS announces a second lottery, which will be conducted based on the reserve registrations.