It may seem somewhat counterintuitive, but H1B visas, which are nonimmigrant visas granted to highly skilled workers, are essentially given via lottery every fiscal year and have been for roughly the last decade and more. Citing the slapdash nature of the process, the current administration has sought to streamline and refine it - however, the changes being proposed are far from uniformly approved. New proposed modifications also continue to come in, sometimes from presidential tweets and other unlikely or untrustworthy sources, which makes the process arguably even more chaotic.
The Process Is a Gamble
H1B visa holders are foreign workers that are allowed to be employed by U.S. companies temporarily, for so-called “specialty occupations.” Specialty occupations are defined as those requiring “theoretical and practical application” of a body of “highly specialized knowledge” in a host of different fields, including biology, chemistry, law, economics, theology, and many others. They must hold at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, and the period of employment is three years, extendable to six before one must reapply for a new visa.
An H1B visa is somewhat unique in that it is perhaps the only visa where an employer puts forth the effort to apply, and yet is not guaranteed a satisfactory result. There is a cap on the category, allowing 65,000 H1B applications to be granted, and 20,000 H1Bs to be granted under the so-called ‘masters’ cap’ for those with advanced degrees from U.S. schools. If your application is not chosen, the fee is refunded, but that is that - you are not permitted to work in the job that would require the visa. This can be catastrophic for many, especially if they had planned around receiving the job....