• H-1B Visa Numbers. Per the recently issued count by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 41,000 petitions for professional workers have been filed towards the 65,000 annual cap. Additionally, 19,100 H-1B petitions have been filed for foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. colleges. H-1B proceedings are approved for employment start in the government's fiscal year that began October 1, 2011. While H-1B visa numbers remain available, the pace is quicker than the last fiscal year and it is hard to predict how long availability will remain. Consequently, it is advisable to file petitions for any intended H-1B employees as soon as possible.
  • Employers should be aware of a recent change made by the USCIS in where original immigration benefit filing receipt and approval notices are mailed. Previously, the attorney representative would receive the original notices from the USCIS and the courtesy copy would go to the employer / petitioner and / or the foreign national. The attorney could ensure timely receipt of those items and provide them to the employer with important related instructions. Now, the USCIS is mailing the original notices directly to the employer or foreign national and the courtesy copy goes to the attorney. Consult with your immigration counsel about ways to safeguard immigration documents and make sure they are provided to the foreign national employee with all necessary information.