Dear Sophie: Last-minute H-1Bs, O-1A & EB-1A extraordinary credential prep

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

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

Dear Sophie,

How many people are employers going to register in the H-1B lottery this year? Will there be fewer because of all of the layoffs?

Is it still possible to include additional candidates before the deadline next week?

— Fast-paced Founder

Dear Fast-paced,

We’re in the heart of H-1B season! The registration window for this year’s annual H-1B lottery is currently open with USCIS.

If you are thinking of including any (additional) candidates and your immigration counsel has already reached capacity, your company may submit any last-minute registrations on its own by following USCIS’s step-by-step instructions.

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

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Employers must be mindful that no new H-1B registrations can be submitted after the registration portal closes at 12 p.m. ET on March 17, which is the Friday of next week.

How many people will be registered? Nobody knows. The mass layoffs in tech mean that there are many people seeking jobs. On the other hand, there are still many, many job openings in tech that employers are willing to sponsor immigrant candidates for. Plus, hundreds of thousands of F-1 university graduates work on regular OPT and STEM OPT every year with the hope that their employers will sponsor them in the lottery.

The 2023 Immigration Trends Report actually predicts that employers will submit slightly more H-1B registrations than they did in 2022, which saw a record of over 483,000.

The lottery has 85,000 openings for new H-1Bs every year, including a subset of 20,000 reserved for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges and universities.