BREAKING: New Rules Reshape H-1B Visa system: What does this mean for Employers/Employees?

New H-1B rules are changing the immigration landscape for U.S. employers and foreign workers in the United States.

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares all you need to know about these important changes.

Did you Know? In February of this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule in the Federal Register that changed the H-1B registration process and enhanced the H-1B program’s integrity to safeguard against fraud. These changes resulted in a significant drop in the number of eligible H-1B registrations for fiscal year 2025 by 40%.


The H-1B visa is one of the most popular work visas used by professionals with U.S. job offers to work in specialty occupations. To be eligible for this visa category, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, or the equivalent work experience in the specialty occupation.

Current laws limit the annual number of qualifying foreign workers who may be issued the H-1B visa to 65,000 with an additional 20,000 reserved for the H-1B advanced degree exemption for those with U.S. master’s degrees (or higher). Unfortunately, the high demand for the H-1B visa, makes the lottery process extremely competitive considering that thousands upon thousands of employers compete for the very limited number of visas available every year.

Due to the numerical limitations, U.S. employers must first register their workers to take part in the annual H-1B visa lottery for a chance at selection.

As you may know, the H-1B registration process has changed dramatically in the past year. To combat H-1B visa fraud and prevent employers from gaming the system, starting this year, USCIS required each beneficiary to be registered under one passport or travel document. This prevented employers from submitting multiple registrations on behalf of the same individual.

The results show that the approach taken by USCIS was successful. The number of eligible registrations dropped by almost 40% when reviewing data from the past year.

H-1B Cap Season FY 2025 Data – At a Glance

For H-1B fiscal year 2025, more than 479,000 employers registered for the H-1B visa lottery, but only 470,342 registrants were eligible to participate in the lottery due to these new changes.

Of the eligible registrations submitted, only 114,017 beneficiaries were selected bringing the total number of selected registrations for H-1B fiscal year 2025 to 120,603.

By comparison, in H-1B fiscal year 2024 more than 780,000 employers registered to take part in the H-1B visa lottery, a total of 758,994 were found eligible to participate in the lottery, and 188,400 beneficiaries were selected that year.

Organizational Accounts Make Possible Online Filing 

Other changes that have been introduced are organizational accounts on the USCIS website that allow the online filing of H-1B petitions, as well as collaboration between company representatives and attorneys who prepare and assemble these petitions for filing with USCIS.

Starting April 1, 2024, USCIS has accepted the online filing of H-1B cap petitions although it is not required to file online.

Overall, the H-1B registration system is now more streamlined and equitable. In the future, we expect to see more stabilization in the number of registrations submitted each fiscal year.

What does this mean for employers and foreign workers competing for the H-1B visa in the future?

First, applicants should view the H-1B visa as one option among many. Applicants and their employers may consider alternative visa types to live and work in the United States such as the O-1 visa for those with extraordinary abilities (such as engineers, designers, or scientists working in tech or the STEM fields).

Nationals of Mexico and Canada may also wish to explore the TN visa, while Australians may consider the E3 visa.

Second, H-1B cap participants should be proactive in the process early on. U.S. employers should begin recruiting well in advance of the H-1B cap season.

Foreign workers should also begin applying for jobs early on to broaden their chances of securing a job offer and H-1B sponsorship ahead of the cap season. This may include attending networking events, securing internships, and making connections in your field of interest so that you are ready to apply during next year’s H-1B cap season in March.

Third, make sure you remain informed regarding the latest changes to the H-1B visa program. You may wish to bookmark the USCIS news webpage, H-1B cap season webpage etc. for useful information.


The bottom line is the H-1B visa program has been going through major changes in the past year making the selection process much more competitive. For that reason, it is extremely important for applicants to plan early, explore other alternative visas, and discuss starting the employment-based green card process early.

For more information, please check out our helpful links below.

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