FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 10th, 2014 –
On April 1, 2013, the U.S Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS), Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS) will start accepting H-1B petitions. H-1B visas are for nonimmigrants who are employed by U.S. employers in professional and specialty occupations. Specialty occupations include, but are not limited to technical writers, business managers, engineers, teachers, lawyers, accountants, etc. Basically the classification requires that the individual possess the equivalence of a U.S. Bachelors Degree and that the degree be related to the job that the individual proposes to take-up in the U.S.
Only a limited number of H-1B visas are available each year. In 2014, the Congressionally-mandated quota is 65,000 H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 reserved for applicants who hold a U.S. Master’s Degree or higher. A limited number of employers – higher educational institutions, nonprofit entities affiliated with higher educational institutions, and nonprofit and government research organizations – are exempt from the quota, as are certain foreign nationals, such as those who have previously been granted H-1B status and physicians who have received “Conrad 30” waivers.
The best chance for receiving an H-1B number under the new cap is to have the H-1B petition filed on the earliest possible date (which is April 1, 2013). In many cases individuals will not graduate until June. If the H-1B numbers are taken very quickly then the spots become subjected to a Lottery. This happened about five (5) years ago. Last year the H-1B visa numbers for Fiscal Year 2013 were taken-up by petitioners by the end of June. In fiscal year 2010, the quota was reached in nine months. Two years ago, it closed in November, but last year it was reached in less than two months.
The H-1B usage is a great method for determining the prospective health of the U.S. economy. Since the H-1B start date is October 1st, it means that the H-1B usage gauges the prospective strength of the U.S. economy six months from now. While President Obama has sent clear messages about the continuing growth and strength of the U.S. economy, it remains to be seen how the H-1B usage will go in the 2014 Fiscal Year.
However, what does appear to be the case is that if companies file for the visa at the same rate they have in the past, we could end-up seeing the FY 2014 quota reached the first day. It is for this reason that we highly recommend applying as quickly as possible once the USCIS starts to accept 2014 H-1B visas.
Starting the H-1B process is relatively easy. The most important aspects of the H-1B process is for the prospective H-1B employer and employee to understand how H-1B works. Certain aspects of the H-1B process can be explained to an employer through the use of obtaining a competent immigration law counselor or lawyer who can fully explain the various steps in the H-1B process.
Starting the petition process is crucial to the petition’s success. Commencing the process without delay gives immigration lawyers and immigration attorneys the necessary time to complete the proper forms, draft support letters, obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), and collect all evidence necessary to prove the po