Many of our clients file H-1B (specialty occupation) work visa petitions for foreign national employees in a wide variety of professional occupations and fields. Typical H-1B beneficiaries are graduates of U.S. universities, graduates of foreign universities, and those whose combined education and experience are equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree.

If your organization has an employee in F-1 visa practical training status or in J-1 exchange visitor status, or if there are professional candidates you've been considering hiring from another employer or from abroad, now is the time to act. Starting April 1, 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS") will begin to accept H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year 2009, which begins on October 1, 2009. Last year, CIS received nearly twice as many petitions as there were open slots under in the "regular" quota of 65,000 annual openings, and CIS ran a random lottery to decide which petitioners and beneficiaries would snag a coveted spot. Filing your case with CIS so that you case arrives on April 1, 2008 is imperative.

In addition to the 65,000 “regular” H-1B visas there is an additional allotment of 20,000 visas available to foreign nationals who hold an advanced degrees ( master's degree or higher) from U.S. schools. Last year, this 20,000 visa quota was exhausted in less than a month.

Citizens of Singapore and Chile have a special H-1B visa set-aside, and citizens of Australia benefit from a separate E-3 category that operates similarly to the H-1B visa category but has its own quota that thus far has never been reached. Persons who already hold H-1B status and are seeking an extension of H-1B time or a change of employer are not subject to these annual limits.

We suggest that all organizations that have an H-1B candidate they wish to sponsor contact us now to set their case in motion and position it for CIS receipt on April 1st.