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Ask Sophie: Are H 1B Hiring Realistic for My Startup?


In regards to the Contributor: Sophie Alcorn

Sophie Alcorn is the founding father of Alcorn Immigration Laws in Silicon Valley. Their regulation company gained the 2019 World Laws Specialist Awards Laws Company of the Yr in California for Entrepreneur Immigration Suppliers. Alcorn is devoted to connecting people with selections that may improve their lives.

Introduction: Ask Sophie – Immigration Suggestion for Tech Companies

Welcome to a distinct version of Ask Sophie, a suggestions column centered on immigration-related questions for individuals working in educated firms. Sophie Alcorn, a famend immigration lawyer in Silicon Valley, solutions questions from founders, particular person operations professionals, and folks in search of jobs within the tech trade. The intention of this column is to unfold info and assist individuals to pursue their goals past boundaries.

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Q: Can my early stage startup rent H-1B visa candidates?

pricey sophie,

My early stage startup is trying to rent candidates who’re searching for H-1B visas. Nonetheless, with over 750,000 H-1B registrations this yr, I doubt whether or not it is a lifelong possibility for us.

– Skeptical Startup

Reply: Registering workers for the H-1B lottery

Expensive Skeptic,

Given the depth of the competitors, it is comprehensible that you just’re skeptical. The share of firms with H-1B visa candidates chosen within the annual lottery course of is declining. Nonetheless, many employers are persevering with to rent, and up to date laws such because the CHIPS Act of 2022 and the Infrastructure Funding and Jobs Act of 2021 are encouraging job creation.

This yr, the US Citizenship and Immigration Providers (USCIS) obtained an astonishing 758,994 eligible registrations for the H-1B lottery. For the primary time, greater than half of those registrations (about 408,900) got here from H-1B candidates, with many employers registering with them.

It’s obligatory to think about the professionals and cons contemplating the circumstances. Regardless of the potential improve in H-1B lottery registration charges, which might attain as much as $215, early-stage startups ought to nonetheless contemplate registering workers. The six-year dual-intention standing supplied by the H-1B visa is invaluable to each firms and their crew members.

Since USCIS applied its on-line registration system in 2020, the possibilities of an H-1B candidate being chosen within the lottery have decreased considerably. Beforehand, firms needed to submit a whole H-1B utility, making the method time-consuming, costly and dangerous. Taking part within the lottery was typically unrealistic for a lot of startups, particularly given the upfront submitting charges. Nonetheless, the brand new on-line system permits firms to simply register candidates and take an knowledgeable determination on whether or not to proceed with your complete utility course of.

Whereas elevating the annual cap of 85,000 H-1B visas requires congressional approval, USCIS might contemplate varied administrative modifications. For instance, they might restrict every candidate to at least one entry in a lottery regardless of providing a number of jobs, selling a good choice course of.

Insights on the H-1B Lottery

USCIS has stated it’s going to rigorously display H-1B beneficiaries, firms and operations to keep away from potential abuse and fraud. The growing range of a number of registrations for a similar beneficiary raises points concerning undue profit.

If any of your early stage workers are on F-1 Non-compulsory Good Teaching (OPT) or STEM OPT, it’s possible you’ll wish to embody them within the H-1B lottery every March. This may increasingly proceed till they’re chosen previous to commencement whereas sustaining their OPT or STEM OPT standing. Additionally, discover different visa choices that finest fit your staff.

Visa for residents of particular nations

In case your startup’s workers or potential workers are usually not chosen within the H-1B lottery, there are a number of choices out there. Many work visas particularly serve individuals from sure worldwide places reminiscent of Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Singapore. These visas present good alternatives to think about your crew members.


Whereas competitors for the H-1B visa is excessive, it’s nonetheless price contemplating for early-stage startups. By registering workers in an annual lottery, startups can appeal to and retain proficient people from around the globe. Regardless of the potential improve in costs, the advantages of the twin intent standing of the H-1B visa make it worthwhile. As well as, the varied visa and administrative adjustments present extra alternatives to discover. It is very important keep knowledgeable, strategize, and join with a talented immigration lawyer for personalized steering.

Incessantly Requested Questions (FAQs)

1. Can early stage startups realistically rent candidates in search of H-1B visas?

Whereas competitors is fierce, it’s reasonable for early-stage startups to think about hiring candidates in search of H-1B visas. By registering workers within the annual H-1B lottery, startups can have an opportunity to draw and retain proficient individuals around the globe.

2. Has the latest improve in H-1B registrations affected your possibilities of choice?

With greater than 750,000 H-1B registrations this yr, the possibilities of choice within the lottery have plummeted. Nonetheless, startups ought to nonetheless take into consideration the advantages of the twin intent standing of the H-1B visa and contemplate it as a part of their experience acquisition and retention technique.

3. What are the attainable administrative adjustments that would have an effect on the H-1B Lottery?

USCIS might contemplate plenty of administrative adjustments, reminiscent of limiting every H-1B candidate to at least one entry within the lottery, no matter a number of job presents. These adjustments are aimed toward offering a good course of and a degree enjoying discipline for all of the individuals.

4. Are A number of Visas Obtainable for Startup Workers Not Chosen within the H-1B Lottery?

Sure, there are a number of work visas out there for startup workers who are usually not chosen within the H-1B lottery. Particular work visas for residents of sure nations, reminiscent of Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Singapore, present viable choices to discover.

5. How ought to an early stage startup navigate the immigration course of for its workers?

It can be crucial for early-stage startups to obtain steering from skilled immigration attorneys who give attention to serving to tech firms. An immigration lawyer can present personalized recommendation, establish appropriate visa choices, and navigate the advanced immigration course of on behalf of the startup and its workers.


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