It is time for H1B 2019. Last year on April 7 USCIS announced that H1B reached its CAP. So the first question people ask is until when USCIS will accept H1B applications and when is the lottery. This depends on the discretion of USCIS and how many application it receives in a year. Here is some interesting information for you. Over the last 10 years, the date has fluctuated a little based on various factors.
It is interesting to look at the years 2010-2013 there was no H-1B lottery and there was no mad rush in filing for petitions or selecting the petitions. (How we all wished that this were the case? J ) In addition, many factors like economic recovery from recession, number of Indian students studying abroad, Offshoring companies not spamming the system etc. also contributed to this long application acceptance timeline. (Imagine the mental pressure if it was this long this year: P). Do not worry it is not going to take 10 months to reach the cap. In fact, I believe we are few more days away. (Even if the Indian IT companies do not spam the system).
The second question people have in mind is how many petitions will be filed this year. In order to make an educated guess for this year, we need to look at the trends in the last 5 years. The number of petitions increased dramatically between 2014- 2016. And there has been a steady increase ever since. However owning to the change in government policy this year. I am expecting many more people to file. About 5% increase. Somehow, there is also a gut feeling that many IT companies from India that spam the system might not file this time? Will there be a steep fall? Take a look at the graph below.
Why close to 5% increase and why even if IT companies do not spam the gut feeling curve is not so steep?
There are other numerous factors affecting the H1B petitions.
Applicants who missed lottery previously and H1B visa spouses: This is perhaps a big factor. Just see the trends of number of petitions applied from 2014-2017. All these were lotteries. Which means many applicants were rejected during the last 3 years simply based on luck? Many rejects were OPT students, first time H1B 2018 applicants from elsewhere and H1B visa spouses. Even if we assume 25% of the applicants reapply for a petition this year. We could have already reached the quota.
Number of international students: This is extremely important factor. The current government policy is somehow not hostile to the master’s students. In fact, some members in the current government are even pitching for providing more preference to students graduating from US universities instead of spamming IT companies. Between 2014 and 2016 the number of students on OPT alone has increased by 25%.
US GDP and unemployment: The entire world was waiting in anticipation during the US elections and many people thought the unlikely outcome could crash the stock markets and economy. However, nothing happened. In fact things are becoming rosy and the following are the forecasts until 2020 take a look at the graph below.
The final questions I would like to answer is when is the lottery date? And when will I get my H-1B ?
Even though this is a tough question to predict. I will give you an educated guess. First let us take into consideration all the above information. We also know that the H1B premium processing was suspended for 6 months in 2018 season. Now let us look at the historic data.
2015 – Lottery started on April 8th,2014
2016- Lottery started on April 13,2015
2017- Lottery started on April 12th, 2016
2018- Lottery started on April 11th, 2017 (Premium processing was suspended)
When can I expect my H1B 2019 lottery results?
This is extremely unpredictable since h1b premium processing was frozen last year. In addition, USCIS issued an unexpected number of Request for evidence. We are in limbo and we have no idea when this is going to be. In 2016, it was July 14; in 2017, it was July 8. I am expecting that your results will be between July 15th and October 7th.