Employers who plan to file for new H-1B employment visas in FY2014 should be prepared to file by April 1, 2013. H-1B visas generally are limited to a fiscal year distribution of 65,000 (85,000 when U.S. Master’s Degree holder visas are included). The immigration fiscal year begins on October 1. Petitions are accepted for the upcoming fiscal year beginning April 1. Until recently, substantially more petitions were received on April 1 for the upcoming fiscal year than the available H-1B numbers and a lottery was held to determine which petitions would be considered.
While H-1B usage has been lower over the last several years, recent demand has been increasing. The 2013 cap was reached on June 11. Therefore, employers should consider filing for needed FY2014 H-1Bs on the first day that petitions are accepted, and hiring should be planned in anticipation of a lack of H-1Bs. It is not clear yet whether a lottery will be needed for FY2014, but all signs point to the cap being reached very quickly. Do not wait to plan your hiring needs. Consult early with your attorney and file as soon as possible.