Immigration Alert: H-1B Visa Cap Filing Season begins 4/1/17

New H-1B visa petitions (including change of status petitions) can be filed with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services beginning April 1, 2017 for an effective start date of October 1, 2017.  H-1B petitions are accepted on a “first-come-first-serve” basis, and the demand for H-1B visas is expected to be very high again this year. We therefore plan to file all cap-subject Petitions on April 1, 2017.  As preparation can be time-consuming, employers should begin the filing process as early as possible.  If your company is seeking to hire H-1B cap-subject professional foreign workers and has not already initiated the process with us, you should contact Outside GC’s Immigration Team immediately.  

As you may be aware, U.S. businesses use the USCIS H-1B visa program to employ temporary professional foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialty occupations.  The position must require at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, the H-1B applicant must have at least the specific bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent), and the employer must conform to substantial record keeping requirements.

The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000, and there are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas available for petitions filed on behalf of foreign national workers who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher. (These cap numbers remain unchanged with the new administration, at least for this year.) Some petitions may be exempt from the H-1B cap, such as if the foreign national is already working in the U.S. in H-1B status for your company or for another cap-subject employer.  

Please note: if the cap is reached within the first week of April, as is expected again this year, USCIS intends to use a computer-generated lottery process to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the cap.  USCIS will reject and return the petitions not randomly selected with filing fees, and such cap-subject petitions cannot be re-filed until April 1, 2018 (for an effective start date of October 1, 2018). 

For more information, please contact Lori Geisinger at (781) 253-7150 ([email protected]) or Jackie DiSanto at (401) 402-0452 ([email protected]).

This publication should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances not an offer to represent you. It is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your attorney concerning any particular situation and any specific legal questions you may have. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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