Career Tips for International Students

H-1B Cap (FY 2025)

You can listen to the latest episodes of the ICAway podcast on YouTube, Apple PodcastsSpotify or right on our website.
Join our host, Kwan Segal, and special guest Attorney Art Serratelli from Serratelli Mijal PLLC as they unravel the USCIS Announcement on Strengthened Integrity Measures for the H-1B Program in the FY 2025 H-1B cap lottery season. 🎤✨ 🔍 Discover the latest insights into the H-1B process, USCIS final rules, and how these changes impact international students. Art dives deep into key dates for the FY 2025 H-1B Lottery Registration and shares essential advice for a fair chance at selection. 🗓️🌐 🤔 Concerned about the lottery system? Learn about backup plans, alternative options like STEM OPT, and gain valuable career-launching advice from Art based on his vast experience working with international students. 🌍💼 Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] Welcome to the third episode of season three of the career guide for international students brought to you by ICAway.

[00:00:08] I’m your host. Kwan Segal. Throughout this season,

[00:00:11] you hear valuable insights from leaders in international education. And discover top professionals who passionately advocate for international student careers. Today’s episode is dedicated to providing you with clarity on the new USCIS. Announcement regarding their strengthened integrity measures for the H-1B program.

[00:00:35] As we find ourselves in the lottery season of the FY 2025 H-1B CAP

[00:00:42] Kwan Segal: my guest speaker today is our good friend attorney Art Serratelli. Art has been practicing law since 1993. He’s a partner at Serratelli Mijal PLLC, an immigration law team that recognized us clients are coming to America to build a better [00:01:00] future for themselves and their children. Art and Mara, his partner is a longterm collaborator of ICAway and are dedicated to supporting international students. Thank you so much for being a strong advocate for international student careers. Um, where are you joining us from today?

[00:01:24] Art Serratelli: Well, today I, at our office in, um. Virginia Beach, North of, Virginia. It’s down in the southeastern corner of the state of Virginia.

[00:01:36] Art Serratelli: And, uh, that’s where we are, but we have a nationwide practice. It’s, um, uh, a federal law. Immigration is the same everywhere. So I have a law license in one state, Virginia, and we can help people in any of the 50 states.

[00:01:51] Kwan Segal: Right. I know that we have clients in Chicago that, you know, working with you as well.

[00:01:58] Kwan Segal: Yes. Thank you so much for [00:02:00] your time on our show today. , so first we have, you know, we would love to hear your insights on the background information on the H 1B process from the past years, can you talk about that a little bit and then discuss the most recent changes of the final rules?

[00:02:18] Art Serratelli: Sure. The, the most recent changes have to do with giving each human, each worker who enters the lottery with a company attached. That human has an equal chance of being selected as the next human over there and as the next human over there. One foreign national, one registration. In the past, they picked by company.

[00:02:45] Kwan Segal: Okay, so that’s good news, right? From your perspective.

[00:02:49] Art Serratelli: Yeah, um, because you ultimately are only going to work one place anyway.

[00:02:57] Art Serratelli: But if you have three in the [00:03:00] past, if you had three job offers, you had three applications entries in the lottery that could be picked. Now, you have three job offers. You’re, you’re equal to the guy who only has one job offer. That’s the, that’s the difference. And then when they pick your application, because it’s connected to you, they’re picking by human.

[00:03:23] Art Serratelli: If you have only one job offer, that’s the company that files the H1B. If it’s over here and it’s this person and she’s got three job offers and they all won the lottery because she won. Then each company can file an H 1B for her, and they may not want to if they get a notice that she was also in line for two other job offers.

[00:03:47] Art Serratelli: And her legitimate answer is, if you guys, bless you, I hope you are, if you guys get into the situation where, um, You had, say, two, two, two [00:04:00] job offers. They were both great, but to be able to work at any one, you got to get in line for the lottery first. So each company put you in line. They didn’t tell you, didn’t tell the other one about the other one.

[00:04:12] Art Serratelli: You win them both. And then thank you. Immigration. Thank you. Immigration sends a notice to both of the companies that they won. And the person connected to the win was you. So then you’re going to be getting. Phone calls because each company gets the same report. So they’ll, they’ll, they’ll know where you’re looking.

[00:04:31] Art Serratelli: Anyway, the point of the matter is you have more control and more leverage. You’re more. Of an agent to, um, vigorously pursue whatever negotiating advantages you have. And this will give you leverage because after the H 1B lottery, your company will know if you had more than one job offer, the company will be told that you have more than one job offer.

[00:04:57] Art Serratelli: So

[00:04:59] Kwan Segal: So there is a [00:05:00] fair chance of selection for this H 1B cap. Right. This year, fiscal year 2025, by the way, Art, I think, you know, lots of students also got confused why it is called fiscal year 2025 when we are in 2024. All right.

[00:05:16] Art Serratelli: So the government fiscal year runs from October 1.

[00:05:21] Art Serratelli: To the end of the next 12 months, which is September 30. So why is it the fiscal year 2025 H 1B? Because when you enter, you go into the lottery in March. And if you win, you file your H 1B application in April, May, or June. You’re working to win the lottery for the year that begins October one. And that year that begins October one is fiscal year 2025. Why? Because the year name goes with the end of the year. And in October one, [00:06:00] 2024, that’s the start of the fiscal year.

[00:06:03] Art Serratelli: That ends in 2025, September 30.

[00:06:07] Kwan Segal: It’s like overlapping, right? The year is overlapping and that’s how it’s called. So don’t get confused you guys, when you see on the USCIS website, and it talks about FY 2025 actually is happening right now in 2024. And I think that already covers, you know, uh, quick steps of like, um, the key dates, right, that students should prepare for

[00:06:32] Kwan Segal: like, on the regular case, a student already graduated, has, whether in a bachelor or master’s degree or PhD, and the company wanted to sponsor their, their H 1B, the first date is For this year is February 28th for the company to set up USCIS account.

[00:06:53] Kwan Segal: Um, and then March 6th for the registration to be open until towards the end of [00:07:00] March

[00:07:00] Kwan Segal: March 26th. The end of the lottery win or not win. You will know by April 1st

[00:07:08] Kwan Segal: we really wish you the best for that,

[00:07:11] Kwan Segal: now, um, even though , Art, we, we know that with this, you know, new rules of the U-S-C-I-S, the H-1B selection process.

[00:07:22] Kwan Segal: is expected to be fairer than in the past, but it’s still a lottery system, right? Um, that means, you know, everyone has a fair chance of winning and losing, right? Um, can you share a little bit about the backup plans for the students, you know, on F1, um, What is it? What are other approaches that they can do?

[00:07:45] Kwan Segal: They are not selected. In the H 1B lottery on April 1st, what options are available to help them maintain their status for working in the U.S

[00:07:57] Art Serratelli: Um, so assuming, um, you’re a [00:08:00] STEM major and you’ve worked after graduation for Three years. And if you don’t win the lottery, the first year or the second year or the third year, um, you may even be able to get into the lottery while you before you even graduate.

[00:08:18] Art Serratelli: Um, but that’s in the front. The point is that, you run out of time and options because you lose the lottery every single time. What do you do? So if you e if you want to email me and I’ll send you, um, I have slides that I explain this on college campuses to international students.

[00:08:37] Art Serratelli: I explain that there are 12 popular visa choices, you have to consider your citizenship. Some of your eligibility for some of these 12 vary by your citizenship. Some not like, because it forces you to do a certain kind of work. Like there’s an R1 religious worker.

[00:08:56] Art Serratelli: Well, if you have no religious beliefs, or if you don’t want to [00:09:00] work as a religious worker or in a religious setting, then don’t. Um, so there are 12, there are more than just this one rotten H 1B with the lottery. There are H 1Bs without the lottery. I’ll send you this. And here are the 12 work Visa choices.

[00:09:17] Art Serratelli: And if you figure out where you fit into this picture, then you could, um, um, work with Kwan and maybe Kwan’s going to find the top tier jobs where H 1B is probably what’s going to be working for you, but there could be others. Um, and so you find the jobs and maybe vary where you’re looking based upon what the visas require.

[00:09:42] Kwan Segal: I just want to let the audience know if you want to see the screenshot that Art shared with us, go to our YouTube channel.

[00:09:50] Kwan Segal: And you will be able to. Get those, uh, information and I, I will share the link as well.

[00:09:58] Art Serratelli: There’s one other option [00:10:00] and this I just learned about and it works with uh, your service. So, so say Kwan, Kwan helps you create your own brand. You’re marketing yourself and you are a brand.

[00:10:12] Art Serratelli: They remember what you’re all about and in two or three words, the point is when you get. Into an interview and then you get a STEM job and you work for these people three years and they love you. If it’s a STEM job that can be performed remotely and say you’re an Indian, and if you’re Indian and you know, there’s a 10 year wait for a green card.

[00:10:36] Art Serratelli: These people will take you, after you, after you, uh, go to them, and say, I lost the lottery three times, and my employer loves me, and I can work remotely.

[00:10:47] Art Serratelli: If you can work remotely, It doesn’t have to be from America. If you run out of options here, this company in Canada takes you and hires you, physically make you live [00:11:00] in Canada, and they create a community of all the international workers that really wanted to be in America. But instead, now they’re working in Canada.

[00:11:09] Art Serratelli: They have a partnership with the Canadian government to get you your work visa fast. And, and if you stay in Canada for four years, I think it’s four years. You could become a Canadian citizen, and that will open up more visa choices in the, in the immigration for, for America. So this company is so smart.

[00:11:32] Art Serratelli: They pull you out. So Kwan gets you a job. She helps you maneuver yourself to a job offer. You work there for three years. Well, they’ve loved you. They met you through Kwan. You are, um, now unavailable to them because you lost a dumb lottery. If they want, you can go work in Canada for this organization and then the organization pays you and they do all your Canadian HR, [00:12:00] but the organization.

[00:12:03] Art Serratelli: Sends you to do what? Working remotely for this company in America. And what’s that company? The same place you had STEM OPT. So that’s an option. Well, I’m getting more and more frustrated. So I have to think of more and more options.

[00:12:18] Kwan Segal: There are so many options, right? It’s like, okay, first of all, for a student on STEM OPT, don’t give up just yet.

[00:12:26] Kwan Segal: You have two more chances to try if your first one didn’t work out, right? And, um, sometimes, you know, with a Lottery system. I remember during the pandemic. That was like three times of the lottery system. So hang in there. And there are, you know, Non cap H-1B option if you know you want to look for employers that Don’t have to wait until the lottery season bypass that lottery process

[00:12:56] Kwan Segal: so basically, you know, from the employment [00:13:00] perspective, uh, there, there could be employers that very familiar with the H 1B process, right? And there could be employers that Never sponsored anyone before and maybe got like intimidated by the complications of the work visas Connect them with the skilled immigration attorney like Art and Mara so that they can help your Employer understand a little bit more to how to hire skilled, you know, workers like yourself in a very comfortable way.

[00:13:32] Kwan Segal: So I will recommend you not to just, you know, focus on employers that used to sponsor international students. You can also open up for employers that are willing to hire you, but they don’t know the process so we can educate them and partner with a skilled immigration attorney.

[00:13:52] Art Serratelli: I know how I’ve done that.

[00:13:53] Art Serratelli: I’ve done that a lot. We get on the phone with the employer that’s midsize. It’s a midsize [00:14:00] employer. They love you that you’ve done. You’ve done a great job and they want to know more about their options. And I explained what the H 1B is. You could be entered in the lottery while you’re on OPT and you could even start the green card.

[00:14:14] Art Serratelli: While you’re on OPT so I tell them all this stuff and they decide at least they’re educated when they’re, they’re making a decision. They know what they’re really deciding. That’s my job to tell them that.

[00:14:26] Kwan Segal: I love that. You’re so right. Uh, lots of international students at ICAway too, you know, they got to be like the first team member that got sponsored by that department or the company.

[00:14:37] Kwan Segal: And, um, you know, midsize company has more flexibility. Sometimes they bypass H-1B. Right. Let’s say it’s your, uh, if you have, if you, um, you’re from the country that do not have lots of backlogs of green card, there’s a possibility that you can bypass that H 1B and get that green card sponsorship. Great, great [00:15:00] option.

[00:15:00] Art Serratelli: Absolutely right, yeah. There’s all sorts of options. So, um, if you want, just email me. Just say, ICAway podcast. And I’ll know to send you that picture I showed on the screen. And, um, if you want questions answered. Like, for example, if you’re, if you’re promoting yourself and looking for a job with Kwan, that’s one thing.

[00:15:25] Art Serratelli: But if you want to know from me behind the scenes, what kinds of visas could possibly fit this job? Cause you can get one job offer and maybe you use an H 1B with a lottery. Maybe, maybe you’ve already worked with them and you came here for a two year master’s and within the past three years, so that’s that year before the master’s, you worked for that same company, but overseas you could qualify for an L.

[00:15:48] Art Serratelli: You might not even know it. If you’re from Canada, the same job, maybe it could get you a TN. So, um, um, if you’re working with Kwan and you want to know, and I’ll probably never be your [00:16:00] lawyer, cause if you get a job at Amazon. They, they have their own, they got a room, they got a whole building of lawyers.

[00:16:05] Art Serratelli: They don’t need me. So, but, but if you, um, um, know about the immigration options you have, and there’s an extra one, that’s not the H 1B, they might not even know it. The company that might not know, you remind them. And how will you remind them? I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you which ones you qualify for.

[00:16:26] Kwan Segal: Amazing. Yeah,

[00:16:27] Kwan Segal: thank you for being there for the students. For all of us as a first immigrant in the U. S. To navigate visa options is so chaotic. So thank you for being there for all the students. Now, um, what would be your advice for international students?

[00:16:46] Kwan Segal: Aspiring to launch their first careers in the U. S. Based on your experience working with so many students in the past, what is your advice to them?

[00:16:56] Art Serratelli: If that’s your goal to work in [00:17:00] America and start, um, career path here, you have to be flexible. You really need a plan B because our, our immigration system is getting more and more outdated by the day.

[00:17:15] Art Serratelli: So. Until the immigration system is fixed, um, you, you got to be flexible, meaning if the H 1B with the lottery doesn’t work out, maybe your flexibility allows you to take a job with an employer you never considered before, but that employer is exempt from the lottery. So, so, so be flexible in the choices you make in the American market,

[00:17:42] Art Serratelli: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

[00:17:45] Kwan Segal: Where there is a will, there’s a way. Great. Yes. Uh, for, you know, all of us, we have to be resilient for sure and know that there are other options. And one last thing, Art, um, do you [00:18:00] agree with me that not getting picked for the lottery system or not getting sponsored this year doesn’t validate your value?

[00:18:10] Kwan Segal: Right? Don’t let these work visa things, you know, um, make you feel like you’re not good enough. You are good enough being here. And yes, there are other options.

[00:18:23] Kwan Segal: Where there is a will, there’s a way. I love that ending. Thank you. And for students that need your help, Art, how can they reach out to you?

[00:18:33] Art Serratelli: You can, um, again, send an email, . Um, our website, um, it’s If you wanna go to our website, you could look around, see who we [00:19:00] are. You could send us, uh, uh, an email through the website. That’s fine too. Um, so, um, we, we help international students who are leaving the, uh, F1 OPT world and trying to stay in America.

[00:19:15] Art Serratelli: Mm-Hmm. to work. And if job offers are getting to become tough, you may be able to work somewhere else and come back. We’ll look at all the options. Um. But start with Kwan. You got to get the job first.

[00:19:32] Kwan Segal: And then we partner with you, Art. You know, since students starting the program, they will have access to you and Mara as well to ask questions and prepare both career and visa pathways all together.

[00:19:47] Kwan Segal: Thank you. Thank you for your insights today and for spending your Saturday morning on my show. Such an honor to have you here.

[00:19:56] Art Serratelli: It’s my pleasure. Thanks. It’s always good to see you. Always good to see you. [00:20:00] Good to see you as well. Take care.

[00:20:02] Kwan Segal: All right, everyone. If you enjoyed this podcast, follow our channel and share your positive thoughts with a review.

[00:20:11] Kwan Segal: Your support helps others find us.

[00:20:14] Kwan Segal: Thank you for tuning in and for being part of our ICAway community. Have a great day and I will see you next time. Think big and live your dream.

— Support this podcast: