H1B Lottery Visa System Changes Go Live

Published on: Apr 08, 2019, Last Edited: Apr 08, 2019 | Tags: USA Visa Application, USA Visa Requirements

Will April 2019 see the start of the H1B lottery system?

In January this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved the so-called “merit-based” H1B lottery draw and this method of allocation looks set to go live on April 1, 2019. Applicants must still file paper applications H1B visas as the online registrations system for HB1 will not start being tested until next year. There is a little uncertainty about this as the proposals are still not finalised and may not actually be implemented this April for the upcoming H!B 2020 cap season (commencing October 2019). However, the director of USCIS Lee Cissna has indicated several times his intention that the new system will indeed be implemented this month. 

Following testing of the system by USCIS, the lottery draw is likely to show a potential increase of more than 15% or over 5000 workers selected under the HB1 category with a master’s or higher degree from a US university or college. In order for this to be achieved, the lottery draw order will be reversed:

Firstly, the lottery will be run for 65,000 employees from the total pool of applicants and then run it again for 20,000 holders of US degrees. Secondly, the applicants with further degrees who did not get chosen in the first round will be moved into a second run, when another 20,000 more visas will be allocated.

The majority of HB1 visa applicants are from China and India and this change will possibly reduce their chances of being selected. The new system looks set to favour holders of US higher degrees and will reduce the chances of anyone with only a Bachelor’s degree. 

H1B applicants not selected still have another chance. If your application is not selected, your name will stay on the waiting list for the rest of the season. Should USCIS need to up the number of registrations to meet the cap, applications will then be selected from those on the waiting list.

El Paso will be “crippled” if President Trump closes Mexican border, claims mayor

Dee Margo, the Republican mayor of El Paso, the largest US city of the US-Mexican border region, has warned Donald Trump that if he closes the border as he threatens, it will have a disastrous effect on both the city and the surrounding region. President Trump has been threating to close the border completely unless the Mexican government does more to prevent asylum seekers from Central American countries crossing illegally.

Mayor Margo said that the impact would be difficult to predict as such an event was unprecedented but with workers crossing the border daily to earn money for their families, it would be bound to have a detrimental effect on the local area.

The figures back up his claims:

  • Every year, there is trade worth around $101 billion between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, its sister city on the Mexican side of the border.
  • Each day, 50,000 El Paso residents, plus 115,000 people from the surrounding area, cross the border into Mexico to work in US-run factories, where the products that they make are exported to the United States.
  • Every morning, 23,000 people cross from Ciudad Juárez on foot to work in El Paso.

The mayor’s warning carries even more weight as, like Trump, he is a member of the Republican party. While he agrees with the President that the border needs more security, he sees the solution as involving some fencing, an increase in the numbers of ICE personnel and a reform of current immigration laws for those without papers who are already in the United States.

El Paso has been bearing the brunt of a surge in the numbers of people from Central American countries seeking asylum in the US and there have been many complaints about the inhumane conditions on which migrants are being held at the border; last weekend, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed that children were being forced to sleep without shelter on the bare ground. Mayor Margo points the finger of blame not at ICE officials but at ineffective immigration law from both parties over the last three decades, as well as President Trump’s current harsh policies. He also claims that President Trump’s speeches about closing the border have inflamed the situation further and led to an increase in people smuggling.

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