Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

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

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that empowers people around the world to rise above the limits and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

BestFitnessBands+ members get access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; Use promo code ALCORN to buy a one or two year subscription with 50% off.


Dear Sophie,

The 2021 H-1B lottery process was quite the roller coaster!

We sponsored several people in the lottery this year. One of our registrants was selected in the first round in March, but none were selected in the second round in July.

We just found out that another of our registrants was selected in November, but he is from South Africa and is not allowed to travel to the US because of Omicron.

What must we do? Any suggestions on what to do with our other potential contributors who were not selected?

— Enthusiastic employer

Dear enthusiast,

Congratulations on selecting two of your registrants in the most recent year’s H-1B lottery! Our clients had many candidates who were also selected in subsequent selection rounds. This year’s H-1B lottery has been a lengthy process and it’s great to see US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) committed to reaching the 85,000 H-1B cap. I covered this in a recent podcast where I talked about immigration changes and trends I expect to see in the coming year.

I expect granting as many of the 85,000 H-1B visas per year as possible will continue to be a priority for the Biden administration. To clear immigration backlogs, they are working to restore resources and personnel at USCIS and the United States Department of State, which had been gutted for the past four years.

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

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

The new travel ban

As you know, on November 29, the Biden administration instituted a travel policy because of the Omicron variant. The most recent policy prohibits persons who have been to South Africa in the past 14 days, as well as Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe from entering the United States. US citizens, permanent residents and the spouses of US citizens and permanent residents are exempt from this new travel ban.

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