Plan Now for H-1B Cap Season
Date: January 22, 2014
Each year, the government limits the number of H-1B visas it will issue for professional workers. This year, 65,000 will be available (with an additional 20,000 available for those holding master’s degrees from U.S. universities). April 1, 2014 marks the first day petitions can be filed for the government’s new fiscal year, which starts on October 1, 2014. If the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services receives more petitions than allowed under the cap, it conducts a lottery to select the petitions for processing. In 2013, more than 85,000 petitions were filed the first week of April and a lottery was conducted. This year, the cap is again expected to be reached in the first week of April.
Employers seeking H-1B status for current or potential employees should plan to file their petitions on April 1. The prerequisite steps that must be completed before filing the H-1B petition can take several weeks. Petitions should be started no later than mid-March to avoid missing the “cap season.”
Why might an employer need to file an H-1B petition?
- The employer is currently recruiting or wishes to recruit a foreign national into a professional position.
- The employer is currently employing a foreign national who is working on an Employment Authorization Card pursuant to Optional Practical Training following graduation from a university or college.
- The employer is currently employing an individual who is approaching his or her fifth year in L-1B status and wishes to sponsor the individual for permanent residency.
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