Simple Fix H1B visa lottery process

HSB014 – Does This Simple Fix for H1B Visa Cap Usage Work?

Raghuram Sukumar H1B Visa, Podcast 12 Comments

I was thinking if there’s a easy fox for this increasing number of H1B Visa Applications and I came up with a simple and easy to implement fix.

I’m back with another podcast show after a break of litter over 5 weeks. Today’s topic is about a simple solution to solve the H1B Visa lottery selection problem.

During this time of the year, people all excited about H1B Lottery season. I made H1B Visa 2016 predictions and I was expecting maximum of 150,000 application and we ended up getting 233,000 H1B Visa 2016 applications.

Not to say the bet I lost with Immigration Attorney Murali Bashyam.  I will tell you more about the that bet in the next episode.

Listen to the Show


So, what do you think about my solution?

Do you think making USCIS not refunding the H1B Visa filing fees will atleast hinder the companies from submitting thousands of applications to increase the number of applications selected in the  H1B Visa Random lottery process?

Cost of an large company to file H1B Visa application is around $5000 including the Filing fees with USCIS and Legal cost.

  • $5000 * $17,500  = $87,500,000 ( 87.5 Million Dollars)

That’s lot of money right?

I can understand the sentiment when it comes for offshore employee want to get a fair share of coming to USA, but is if fair to select High Skilled Workers by Lottery Process?

Even if the H1B Visa cap is increased to 195,000 there will still be lottery.

Let me know what you are thinking about this lottery and like to hear of you have a feedback or a solution to this H1B Visa lottery process.


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  1. Hello Raghu,

    That was really a good idea..


    Uscis should limit the applications to a constant number per employer, That will increase lottery pick-up probabilty.


  2. Law would not allow to charge for services that uscis or any other authority do not provide. if they simply return applications without processing it then they will not be legally entitled to fetch the money (fees).

    Some other solutions could be –

    1) Keep a cap for each company. So companies has to be limited up to 500 or 1000 applications/ per quota. They can very well use L1B instead of H1B and get the business done.
    2) If they want to file H1B beyond specified limit allow them but increase H1B fees to say 4 times for such companies as well as increase salary of employee to 2 times. So that company has to share profits to USCIS and employee as well.
    3) multiple filing from different employers – should take away only 1 quota position even if multiple applications are filed (picked). It’s not logical to block multiple quota positions for one person (1 full time resource)

    These 3 things above will solve everything.

    🙂 what say

    1. Author

      @VJ – First 2 would require law change and I’m not sure if USCIS can implement #3. But, good suggestions.

      Even for lottery, I’m not sure if Immigration law defines lottery process. It maybe the interpretation by USCIS.

      1. Raghu- It is interesting you say that the lottery may not be in the H1B law itself, but just an interpretation by USCIS. If that’s the case they can easily change without any legislation, their interpretation and have some sort of point based priority system. Similar to PR process in countries like Canada, Australia, NZ, and the UK. Points for education, experience, skills etc will be much better solution than a random lottery. Thinking from the US economy’s standpoint, priority system would be a fair distribution method of limited supply of H1B visas. Rather than kicking out highly educated, qualified, and experienced applicants like PhDs from Stanford and MIT they would easily get highest points and get selected for review over fresh engineers right out of college with just a bachelors degree. Right now they are all on same leveled playing field for the 65,000 quota, once the AD lottery is done and we still have AD applicants left competing for those 65K visas. Why would US not prioritize?

      2. I strongly believe lottery process would have some hidden rules, it may not be raw blind lottery. That’s my assumption.

  3. Hi Raghu, We have missed your podcasts in recent days. We felt sad by knowing that you are not well in health perspective. Take care about health.

    The Idea, what you have proposed is good. if this is implemented, surely we can see the massive reduction in number of applications from large organizations. To be frank, As an Eye Wash process some of the MNCs will apply for H1B behalf of their employees. it is WIN WIN strategy. Employee will be satisfied that MNC has done some favor to him(salary hike will never make employee happy). MNCs will not loose their money(because of refund process) and they will gain faith from employees. There are few people i knew in India, who is having valid visa and still working in india itself, as the MNC is not encouraging onsite opportunity and keep on postponing to deploy.

    If this process is implemented, Then for an Individual who is applying through consultancies will face tough times. Though it is against law that paying visa fees by applicant, without any choice applicants are paying by forecasting better future. If luck is not favor(who believes in luck), individual is loosing opportunity as well as money. There are few people, who will duplicate applications with different employers, if USCIS take any steps to block multiple applications, it is really appreciable.

    1. Author

      Thanks Praveen. COld winters are not my favorites. I’m happy when temperaturs is above 72 🙂
      I didn’t think about Eye Wash approach of MNC’s. But, there IT services companies take up the space in the cap and don’t send the employees.
      We don’t have the stats of H1B applicants who never came to USA.

      Or there should be a running cap. In previous 3 years, if the company received say 15,000 visas but only sent 3000 H1B workers to US, then they get Max 3000 cap in following quota.

      To step that up, if the company filed 500 PERM application in previous year, they would get additional 1000 visas in next year cap.

      What do you think?

      1. Running cap ” In previous 3 years, if the company received say 15,000 visas but only sent 3000 H1B workers to US, then they get Max 3000 cap in following quota.” This is very good idea infact there should be penalty as well for blocking quota but not using. That will be awesome.

  4. If they don’t have this by next year, the total number of applications will shoot above 250K and maybe even touch 300K. Imagine what will happen to those AD people trying their luck the last time.

    This idea will also discourage the loop-holed multiple filings.

    1. Author

      True. If law doesn’t change, then this trend will continue. But, with election year coming-up nobody wants to touch this Immigration Bills.

  5. Great idea!

    I think this is the only way the abuse and body shopping will stop!

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