Federal Judge Upholds H-1B Visa Lottery Program

March 21st, 2017

A federal district court in Oregon upheld USCIS’s randomized computer lottery system for H-1B visas. It rejected arguments by the class-action plaintiffs that the lottery system violates immigration law by not providing a waiting list.

In addition to a waiting list, some have proposed a weighted lottery system whereby petitioners rejected in prior years get priority in the lottery. Petitioners can file multiple consecutive years and often do until the beneficiary runs out of nonimmigrant status and employment authorization in the US. An example is an F-1 student working pursuant to F-1 optional practical training (OPT). Such F-1 student may initially obtain one year of post graduation OPT and then may be eligible for two more years of OPT if they fall within one of the STEM fields. Once this OPT expires the F1 can try reenrolling an another F-1 program and requesting immediate curricular practical training that allows them to work while studying.