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Options For Those Who Didn’t Make It In H-1B Visa Lottery

| Updated: April 4, 2024 13:26

US expert gives alternative options for those who did not make it in the lottery

Many skilled workers aspire to work in the US and for them the H-1B visa programme is a sought-after option. The recent lottery results have left many disappointed.

A US-based immigration expert, Steven Brown, says that this setback must not be seen as an end of hope. For one, there is a possibility of a second lottery, perhaps in July. In the last four fiscal years, only once has there not been a second lottery, says Brown. 

One of the common misconceptions among international students is that they need to be on Optional Practical Training (OPT) to apply for the H-1B lottery. Brown clarifies that this is not the case. If you are at the end of your OPT time, and are deciding to leave the US, you can still apply for the H-1B lottery in the future. However, finding a sponsor might be more challenging, he added.

For those currently on OPT or STEM OPT, Brown gives a reassuring piece of information.   If you have OPT until 2025, that has not changed if you were not selected. This means you can continue working and gaining valuable experience while exploring other immigration avenues.

Alternative visa paths

The H-1B visa is just one of several high-skilled visa categories available. Brown suggests exploring these alternatives:

O-1 Visa: This visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in fields such as science, arts, education, business, or athletics. With the current administration’s focus on STEM fields, AI, and emerging technologies, the O-1 visa could be a viable option that many haven’t previously considered.

E-1/E-2 Visa: For nationals of treaty countries engaged in substantial trade (E-1) or substantial investment (E-2) in the US.

L-1 Visa: If your company has international offices, you may qualify for an L-1 intra-company transfer visa.

Brown adds that an aspirant can go through the employment-based green card process though it is expensive, unless he or she is from a ‘green card backlog’ country. 

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