On April 2, 2007, the Immigration Service will begin accepting H-1B temporary worker applications with start dates of October 1, 2007, the first day of the government’s new fiscal year. These visas are available to professionals in specialty occupations. The cap applies to those not currently in H-1B visa status, who have not had that status in the past six years and have not left the U.S. for one year since acquiring the status, and those who are not otherwise exempt.

Under current law, the Immigration Service can approve a limit of only 65,000 new H-1B visas each year. Last year this cap was reached on May 26, 2006. Due to the limitation of available visas and the backlog that has built up since last May, employers interested in sponsoring a worker for H-1B status should act immediately to prepare the necessary petition for immediate filing as soon as possible. It is particularly important for those employees working on optional practical training who are subject to the cap not to miss this window of opportunity to avoid a gap in authorized employment.