Is There a Visa Lottery Coming Sometime Soon?

It’s looking more and more like the H-1B visa limit will be reached virtually instantaneously this year.

The Wall Street Journal reports this week that “government and company officials predict employers by Friday will exhaust the quota for this year’s application season.”

Each year, U.S. companies can sponsor a cap of 65,000 applicants for H-1Bs. An additional 20,000 visas are available to those with advanced degrees from a U.S. university.

The last year the cap was reached was 2008. The increased demand is tied to two things:

  1. Accelerated hiring by U.S. companies of programmers and other specialized employees; and,
  2. Concerns over pending immigration bills.

The U.S. Senate is moving closer to a rather sweeping bill that could significantly affect the H-1B and other visa programs.

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Stay tuned.

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Mark Toth has served as Manpower Group North America's Chief Legal Officer since 2000. He also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team, Global Legal Lead Team and North American Lead Team. Mark is recognized as an expert on legal issues affecting the U.S. workplace and is frequently quoted in media from The Wall Street Journal to 60 Minutes. He is also a past Chair of the American Staffing Association and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Contact him at