By Iosif Sorokin, Larson • King, LLP

The H-1B visa allows employers to hire foreign nationals to work in professional positions. There are 65,000 new visas available for employees with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) and an additional 20,000 visas for employees with a master’s degree (or higher). Since demand for these visas is so great, the Immigration Service uses a lottery system to allocate these visas. This year the Immigration Service is prioritizing H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a master’s degree or higher, so the odds of being selected in the lottery are better for those employees who have a master’s degree or higher.

Employers must enter their employees into the H-1B lottery by April 1, 2019. Assuming the same demand as last year, the odds of being selected in the lottery this year are:

  • 55% if you have a master’s degree from a U.S. institution of higher education.
  • 34% if you have only a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent.

Filing for an H-1B visa requires posting a specific notice on the employer’s premises, followed by certification of a labor condition application by the Department of Labor, all before filing the petition to the Immigration Service.