This is a quick reminder that employers should prepare now if they plan to file H-1B petitions on April 1, 2016 for the fiscal year commencing Oct. 1, 2016. It is expected that the demand for H-1Bs will be very strong once again this year and the H-1B cap will be reached within one week after H-1B petitions can be filed beginning on April 1, 2016.

Given the short window available for filing H-1B petitions, employers should contact immigration counsel as soon as possible, and preferably no later than March 1, if they plan to sponsor an employee in H-1B status with an Oct. 1, 2016 start date. Universities, nonprofit research centers, and certain related entities are exempt from the H-1B cap, as are H-1B extensions and H-1B change of employer petitions for persons already counted against the H-1B cap in prior years. (Note: H-1B workers changing from cap-exempt to cap-subject employers may not be exempt from the H-1B cap.)