Sophie Alcorn is the founder of Alcorn Immigration Act in Silicon Valley and the 2019 Global Law Experts Awards for California Law Firm of the Year for Entrepreneurial Immigration Services. It connects people with the companies and opportunities that expand their lives.

More contributions from this contributor

Here is another edition from Dear Sophie, the advisory column that answers immigration-related questions about working in technology companies.

“Your questions are critical to disseminating knowledge that enables people around the world to push their boundaries and make their dreams come true,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether in People Ops, founders or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column. “

TechCrunch + members get access to weekly Dear Sophie columns; Use the promotional code ALCORN to purchase a one or two year subscription with a 50% discount.

Dear Sophie,

The 2021 H-1B lottery process was a roller coaster ride!

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

We have just learned that another of our registrants was selected in November but is from South Africa and is restricted from traveling to the US due to Omicron.

What should we do? Any suggestions on what to do with our other potential hires that weren’t selected?

– Avid employer

Dear zeal,

Congratulations on choosing two of your registrants in last year’s H-1B lottery! Our customers had many candidates who were also selected in subsequent selection rounds. This year’s H-1B lottery has been a long process, and it’s great to see the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) commit to hitting the H-1B 85,000 cap. I touched this in one recently Podcast where I talked about changes and trends in immigration that I expect in the coming year.

I expect that getting as many of the 85,000 H-1B visas out there each year as possible will continue to be a priority for the Biden administration. To help tackle the immigration backlog, they are working to rebuild resources and staffing at USCIS and the US State Department that had been gutted over the past four years.

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

The new travel ban

As you know, the Biden administration introduced a travel policy on November 29th due to the Omicron variant. The latest policy bans individuals who have been in South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the past 14 days 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.