The first week of April is when H-1B petitions for the next fiscal year must be filed. Employers seeking H-1B status for current or potential employees should begin preparing now as multiple steps must be completed in advance of filing.
In recent years, the number of H-1B petitions filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has far exceeded the number of visas available. The current annual cap, as set by Congress, is 65,000 visas (with an additional 20,000 available for those holding U.S. master’s degrees). Last year, nearly 233,000 petitions were filed the first week of April. It is expected that the number of petitions filed this year during the first week of April will again exceed the cap.
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 currently employs a foreign national with an Employment Authorization Card pursuant to Optional Practical Training following graduation from a university or college.
- The employer currently employs an individual who is approaching his or her fifth year in L-1B status and wishes to sponsor the individual for permanent residency.
- The employer currently employs an individual with another work-authorized visa without benefits that the H-1B would allow.