International Students Immigration Blog

Data Released: 26% of H1B Beneficiaries Were Selected

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released the data for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 H-1B visa lottery. Although this year's H-1B selection rate is significantly higher than last year's 15% rate of selection in the first round lottery, the selection rate of FY 2025 is only 26%. This falls short of the expected 30-40% selection rate.

USCIS updates for the Fiscal Year 2025  H1B Cap Registration Process
USCIS updates for the Fiscal Year 2025

H1B Cap Registration Process

1. Overview of the H-1B Lottery Data

In the FY 2025 cap season, USCIS has selected 114,017 beneficiaries from an pool of about 442,000 unique beneficiaries. The general selection rate is 26%. In addition to the selection rate, there are other data points worth noting:

  • The number of unique beneficiaries in FY 2025 stood at approximately 442,000, a figure comparable to the previous year's tally of around 446,000 for FY 2024.
  • The count of unique employers for FY 2025 was in line with FY 2024, with approximately 52,700 employers participating.
  • There was a significant drop in the number of eligible registrations for FY 2025, totaling 470,342, showcasing a 38.6% decrease from the previous year's 758,994 registrations.
  • The average number of registrations per beneficiary this year in FY 2025 was 1.06, down from 1.70 in FY 2024.
Cap Fiscal Year
Eligible Registrations / Beneficiaries
Selected Registrations / Beneficiaries
Selection Rate
FY2023
474,421 Registrations
127,600 Registrations
26.9%
FY2024
758,994 Registrations
188,400 Registrations
24.8%
FY2025
442,000 Beneficiaries
114,017 Beneficiaries
25.8%

H1B Lottery data from the past three years.

2. Impact of the new H1B regulations on the lottery process

USCIS introduced the new beneficiary-centric selection process (i.e. selection by unique beneficiary) this year. Regardless of how many employers submit your application for the lottery, only one slot will ultimately be allocated. It is evident that the number of registrations has significantly decreased from last year's 760,000 to 470,000, ensuring a fairer and less cluttered selection process. Nevertheless, the total number of beneficiaries participating in the lottery remained steady at 440,000 compared to last year. Additionally, the overall selection rate remained consistent at around 25%, suggesting that the new H1B selection process has had minimal effect on increasing the beneficiaries' selection rate.

 

3. Is a Second H1B Lottery Expected for FY 2025?

It is highly unlikely that there will be a second round of H1B lottery for this year. With a total of 114,000 H1B beneficiaries selected and factors such as the new beneficiary-centric selection process, even with considerations for layoffs and economic downturn, it is highly probable to reach the annual H1B cap of 85,000. Once the quota is met, there will be no more lottery rounds.

🔗 Read the in-depth analysis on the likelihood of a second H1B lottery for FY 2025.

An Applicant not Selected in the H1B Lottery

4. Looking Ahead

This year, out of the 114,000 unique H1B beneficiaries, only 85,000 registrations need to be approved to reach the quota. USCIS is expected to raise the scrutiny level for H1B petitions, with the approval rate potentially dropping below 90% for the first time in years.

Looking ahead, the registration fee is set to skyrocket to $215, coupled with a possibility of stricter USCIS scrutiny, uncertainties surrounding the upcoming elections, and a sluggish job market in the US. As a result, the number of beneficiaries participating in the H1B lottery is likely to decrease further. There is hope that the H1B selection rate could increase to over 30%.

 

5. Not Selected? Consider Those Alternatives to extend your status

1. Switch to O1 Status

Consider exploring the O-1 visa option if your H1B lottery application is not selected. This visa is designed for individuals with exceptional abilities in various fields like science, education, business, arts, athletics, or those who have gained significant recognition in the entertainment industry.

2. Find a Cap-Exempt H1B

Individuals who were not selected in the H1B lottery have the option of seeking cap-exempt employment. This includes institutions of higher education, affiliated nonprofit entities, and nonprofit or governmental research organizations that are exempt from the cap and can submit H1B petitions year-round. Upon approval of their petition by USCIS, individuals can then begin working with their employer.

3. Work abroad for a year, then return to the US on an L1 visa.

If you are employed by a company with an oversea office, you may qualify for an L-1 visa. To be eligible, you must work abroad in a multinational corporation and hold a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge role for at least one year in the past three years. 

4. Explore Day 1 CPT Universities for the Opportunity to Study and Work on an F1 Visa

Day 1 CPT universities offer the opportunity to obtain CPT authorizations, allowing you to work while pursuing your studies in the US. This option is particularly popular for individuals who do not qualify for the O1 or L1 visas and prefer not to transition to a cap-exempt H1B job, providing a viable alternative for continuing your career path.

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