The Department of Homeland Security announced a rule change Wednesday that will transform the lottery that decides who gets the 85,000 H-1B visas granted to for-profit companies every year.
Full text of the announcement can be found here.
Previously, an initial lottery granted 20,000 visas only to those holding advanced degrees granted by U.S. institutions — master’s degrees or doctorates — and then a general lottery granted 65,000 visas to all qualified applicants.
The Department of Homeland Security switched the order of these lotteries, which will bolster the odds for highly educated foreign nationals. The change reduces the likelihood that people with just a bachelor’s degree will win in the general lottery. The department said the rule change would result in an estimated increase of up to 16 percent in the number of H-1B visa holders with advanced degrees, or about 5,300 workers.
The rule change is effective April 1, 2019.