With the New Year fast approaching, the time to begin preparing for an H-1B cap filing is now. The first day to file for a “cap-subject” H-1B for the upcoming fiscal year (“FY”) is April 1, 2016. If selected and approved, the start date for these H-1Bs will be October 1, 2016. While it seems a long ways off, the complexity of the process means it’s important to start now to ensure a timely filing.
What’s the H-1B cap? Congress limits the number of H-1Bs that may be approved each FY. These are for new petitions for those not currently in H-1B status. The cap provides 65,000 H-1Bs for individuals with Bachelor’s degrees or equivalent, and an additional 20,000 for those with Master’s degrees from U.S. universities. Based on last year’s numbers, the number of H-1B applications this year will likely once again exceed the supply and result in a lottery.
Some key areas to consider when planning an H-1B filing include:
Regarding timing: It takes time to properly prepare an H-1B petition. Carrying out the necessary analysis and gathering the documentation required for each of the above points can be difficult and time-consuming. In addition, each petition must include a Labor Condition Application (Form 9035) certified by the United States Department of Labor which takes seven business days after filing or longer if the employer has to verify its FEIN beforehand. Given all of this, it makes sense to begin the process as early as possible to ensure a timely filing.
If you have questions about H-1Bs and the H-1B cap, the attorneys at Minsky, McCormick and Hallagan are available to help.
The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
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