• 29Jan
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on The New H-1B Filing Season Is Upon Us!

    With all of the recent political debate in Washington over the expansive topic of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the H-1B filing season is rapidly approaching!

    On April 1, employers will be eligible to begin filing new H-1B petitions with the USCIS for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins October 1, 2013. The quota (more commonly referred to as the “cap”) for new H-1B petitions is currently set by Congress at 65,000 per year and, of that number, 6,800 visas are automatically set aside for qualified foreign nationals from Chile and Singapore based on Free Trade Agreements with the United States. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available to candidates with a U.S. Master’s Degree.

    While last year’s H-1B cap was reached in less than three (3) months (mid-June 2012), due to pent-up demand, the cap may very well be reached in a few weeks, or perhaps even a few days! So to prepare for this year’s April 1 filing date, if you have not done so already, we recommend that you identify your current (or prospective) employees who may be subject to the cap and contact qualified immigration counsel to begin preparing your H-1B petitions for a timely April 1 filing.

    To Identify Employees Subject to the H-1B cap:  New H-1B applicants generally fall under one of the following 3 categories:  (i) current employees or new hires with a nonimmigrant status that will not permit them to work continuously through the effective date of a new H-1B classification, October 1, 2013 (e.g., F-1 students working pursuant to OPT, H-3 trainees, and/or J-1 exchange visitors), (ii) potential candidates who are abroad and have not been previously counted against the H-1B cap; or (iii) those employees for whom a change of status is a necessary component to planning your business’ long-term strategy of pursuing permanent residence for that employee (e.g., TN-1 professionals, L-1B specialized knowledge employees, and/or L-1A managers who do not qualify for permanent residence as multinational managers).

    It is important to note that the H-1B cap applies only to “new” H-1B petitions. As such, current H-1B employees seeking to file an H-1B extension of stay, or an H-1B transfer petition, are not subject to the cap.  Moreover, employees seeking H-1B sponsorship with an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization or a qualifying government research organization are generally not subject to the cap.

    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.

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