Ought to co-founders on OPT, STEM OPT pursue H-1Bs? – TechCrunch


??Right here’s one other version of “Expensive Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at know-how firms.

“Your questions are important to the unfold of information that permits individuals everywhere in the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in individuals ops, a founder or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to answer your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Expensive Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Expensive Sophie,

My two co-founders and I are on OPT and STEM OPT. We’re all from India and are contemplating the H-1B lottery.

How can we construction our immigration compliance? Any recommendation for planning?

— Tenacious Trio

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Expensive Tenacious,

Thanks for reaching out to me together with your questions. Earlier than I dive into them — and for a little bit of context — right here is a few background on the annual H-1B lottery.


H-1B lottery 101

In 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Companies (USCIS) carried out a brand new digital registration course of for the H-1B. That started a brand new course of during which employers register every H-1B candidate on-line and pay a $10 registration price. Earlier than 2020, employers have been required to submit a accomplished H-1B petition for every candidate — a really pricey and time-consuming course of.

The better and more cost effective digital H-1B lottery course of is fantastic however resulted in a dramatic rise within the variety of lottery registrants. This yr, USCIS obtained 483,927 registrations, a 57% improve from 2021. Yearly, 85,000 H-1B visas can be found within the lottery — 20,000 for people with a grasp’s diploma or greater and 65,000 for these with a bachelor’s diploma. On condition that Congress has not elevated the variety of H-1B visas obtainable within the lottery, the probabilities of being chosen within the lottery dropped to about 23% in 2022 from about 32% in 2019.

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