This is a reminder of the quickly approaching April 1, 2014 “deadline” for the filing of H-1B for Fiscal Year 2015 which starts on October 1, 2014.
Given pent-up demand for H-1B numbers, we fully expect the cap to be reached on the first day of April. USCIS will, however, accept petitions during the first five (5) business days; i.e., through April 7, 2014. Once the H-1B cap has been reached, employers will be ineligible to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions for a full year, until April 1, 2015. As such, we strongly encourage you to identify employees who may require H-1B sponsorship and contact us as soon as possible to begin preparing your H-1B petitions for a timely April 1 filing.
Assess Your Company’s H-1B Cap-Subject Needs:
The H-1B visa is, by far, the most sought-after temporary work visa in the United States for foreign-born, professional workers. The H-1B category requires sponsorship by a U.S. employer and is limited to specialty occupations which generally require the candidates hold at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in a relevant discipline. For current or transferring employees, employers should consider who might need to file an H-1B on April 1, 2014 for Fiscal Year 2015:
- Identify F-1 (student) employees working pursuant to Optional Practical Training who will need to file a change of status to H-1B to continue working beyond the expiration of their current Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
- Determine whether any TN employees (NAFTA professionals) will need to file a change of status to H-1B to be eligible to apply for adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident;
- Consider employees in L-1B status (intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge) who will need to file a change of status to an H-1B to gain an additional year of work authorization (and for whom a change of status is a necessary component for a longer-term strategy of pursuing lawful permanent residence for that employee);
- Consider employees in O-1 status (which O-1’s are renewable in only one year increments) as compared to a full three (3) year validity period offered by the initial approval of the H-1B classification; and
- Identify potential candidates who are currently abroad and have not been previously counted against the H-1B cap.
PLEASE NOTE: the H-1B cap applies only to “new” H-1B petitions. As such, current H-1B nonimmigrant professionals seeking to file an extension of stay or a transfer petition are not subject to the cap.
Any cap-subject petitions filed after the cap has been met will be returned to the sender who will not be eligible to re-file until April 1, 2015.
If you have any questions about the H-1B visa cap, or would like to discuss appropriate alternatives to the H-1B category, please do not hesitate to contact us.