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H-1B Cap Rule – Did it Work?

As noted in our post in February 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule updating the H-1B cap registration process and creating a beneficiary-centric selection process. The rule took effect this year with the FY25 H-1B cap registration period, which ran from March 6, 2024, to March 22, 2024.

With the surge in cap lottery submissions since the introduction of online registration in 2020, we’ve witnessed a persistent decline in selection rates for the H-1B cap lottery, as individuals submit multiple registrations to enhance their chances of success.  However, recent updates from USCIS regarding selection numbers for FY25 indicate a potential positive shift, with fewer “eligible registrations” reported. Whether this change is attributed to the implementation of new rules, prevailing market dynamics, or a blend of both factors is yet to be determined. 

On April 30, 2024, USCIS announced that a sufficient number of electronic registrations were received for the FY 2025 H-1B cap season with a selection rate of approximately 26%. USCIS announced that 470,342 eligible registrations were received from 52,700 employers, and USCIS selected 120,603 registrations. In the update, USCIS notes that they “saw a significant decrease in the total number of registrations submitted compared to FY 2024, including a decrease in the number of registrations submitted on behalf of beneficiaries with multiple registrations.”

A closer look at their numbers reflect similar volume in companies and people between FY 2025 and FY 2024, where we can see the impact of the rule is in the number of eligible registrations:

  • The number of unique beneficiaries this year for FY 2025 (approximately 442,000) was comparable to the number last year for FY 2024 (approximately 446,000).
  • The number of unique employers this year for FY 2025 (approximately 52,700) was also comparable to the number last year for FY 2024 (approximately 52,000).
  • The number of eligible registrations, however, was down dramatically for FY 2025 (470,342) compared with FY 2024 (758,994) — a 38.6% reduction.
  • Overall, we saw an average of 1.06 registrations per beneficiary this year in FY 2025, compared to 1.70 for FY 2024.  
  • Source: H-1B Electronic Registration Process | USCIS

As USCIS aimed to curb abuse in the registration process, the beneficiary-centric selection method seems to have yielded a notable 38.6% decrease in eligible registrations, marking a positive and favorable development.  All eligible CAP cases from the lottery selections must be filed by June 30, 2024.

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