On April 1, 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting new H-1B petitions for professionals to begin H-1B employment on October 1, 2007. We urge you to act now and take stock of your hiring needs, and caution you that last year, all 65,000 H-1B numbers were used up by May 26, a mere 56 days after the filing gate opened. We expect the numbers to be snapped up even earlier this year.

You should start reviewing your employment needs to determine whether any foreign nationals will be requiring H-1B status. This includes those now employed by you in F-1 practical training status, TN status, J-1 status, as well as those you plan to bring on board after October 1.

International Students

Please note that even if you plan to hire a foreign national who will soon graduate from a U.S. university, and has an employment authorization card, you must still act now to file an H-1B petition for him. Here’s why:

The Problem

Suppose you plan to hire someone who will graduate in June 2007, and that that person has an employment authorization card valid through the end of June 2008. While it’s true that this recent graduate can be employed by you for a year, after June 2008 your employee will no longer be workauthorized.

The Solution

If you file an H-1B petition for this recent graduate on April 1, and ask the USCIS to change his status to H-1B effective October 1, 2007, this person will be in valid H-1B status for three years, starting on October 1.

What About Foreign Nationals with Advanced Degrees?

There are an additional 20,000 H-1B numbers, on top of the annual allotment of 65,000, for those foreign nationals who have earned a Master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education. But even for these people, we urge you to file early. Last year, those additional H-1B numbers were all gone by the end of July

As in past years, the H-1B cap does not apply to foreign nationals who already hold H-1B status and are seeking to change their H-1B employer and/or extend their H-1B stay in the United States.