Every year on the 1st of April the USA holds a lottery.   Over 200,000 hopeful immigrants apply for an H-1B visa.  These people have exceptional skills that the economy needs.  Why for every 1 H-1B in the STEM fields, 2.6 other jobs are created.  The downside to this that only 85,000 of these people actually win an H-1B visa.

What do you do if you do not win the H-1B lottery?

  • Stop crying

No really, it’s okay.  So what if you didn’t win, is going home so bad?  You may be able to qualify for an L-1 visa if you work back at home and they want to expand into America later on.  The hard reality is that your H-1B application was tied to a specific job that you could only get if you were lucky enough to win, but you did not win, so you do not get the job.  That sucks, but it’s the rules.  In 2016 there were 236,000 applications for only 85,000 slots.  So take solace in knowing that many other people feel your pain.

  • Should you have even been playing the lottery??

Not all H-1B applications are created equal.  Some are not subject to the cap at all and so do not have to play the lottery.  Typically, non-profits and colleges are exempt from the cap.  If you’re being sponsored by a college, then your application is not subject to the cap.  The non-profits exemptions are murkier because they must also be related to the higher education or research.  For example, many med-schools may have a separate non-profit that does research. This is an affiliated non-profit and as a result any H-1B applications it sponsors would probably be exempt.

  • Play the lottery better next time

If you’re on OPT, time is running out.  But the STEM OPTs have 3 years instead of one, that means the lottery will come around a couple more times.  One thing that you can do is apply more than once to the lottery, but make sure that you do it the right way.  For example, if Google is offering you a job and they apply for 3 H-1B visa for you in that job, well that’s dishonest.  But what if Google offered you 3 jobs?  And they applied for an H-1B visa for you in each of them.  That’s better, but pushes a line because your H-1B visa must be in the filed in which you work.  Some fields may have more than 1 relevant job, but it pushes the boundaries.  Now, what if three different companies offer to sponsor you at the same job?  The job is perfectly aligned with your H-1B specialty training.  Odds are you will only win one of them.

That’s what we’re building at Work Visas Solutions.  We want to bring the same tools that only big corporations used to have to Main Street businesses.  By matching employers with talented employees, we allow for maximum results.  Employees are assigned ranks to their particular job applications.  Employers have their first choice, second choice, and third choice of respective employees.  Employees also have their first, second and third choices.  These rankings allow for priority inheritance for any potential conflicts that may arise from double or triple wins.  Granted, there is only a 10% chance two employees would both win the lottery for the same job, and a 1% chance for the one below that, but the unlikely can happen with a large enough data set.


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