There are no remaining slots left in fiscal year 2012 (October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012) for foreign workers in specialty occupations under the H-1B visa program, as the statutory cap has been reached.
However, employers who wish to hire foreign specialty workers should consider now preparations for filing a petition to sponsor H-1B workers for fiscal year 2013, which starts as of Oct. 1, 2012. Petitions for worker start dates on or after Oct. 1 may be filed soon – as of April 1 of this year.
Petitions should be filed as soon as possible in order to avoid being shut down by the annual cap limitation for the H-1B program (cap amount of 65,000 expected for FY 2013). Last year, the cap amount was reached in December, just a few months after the start of the fiscal year, so early submission is critical to the success of any H-1B petition.
Some petitions will be exempt from the cap if they are made on behalf of certain individuals who have obtained an advancedU.S.degree, but USCIS grants the exemption only to the first 20,000 applications.
The USCIS is also still accepting and processing petitions filed to:
- extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in theU.S.;
- change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
- allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
- allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
U.S.companies have made great use of the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.
H-1B petitions, in order to be properly filed, must be complete and accurate. Necessary documents include, but are not limited to the following:
- a Form I-129 petition with appropriate supplements;
- labor condition applications on Form ETA 9035;
- required evidence of a beneficiarys educational background;
- duplicate copies of certain documents; and
- Consulate-specific forms required by the Department of State where appropriate.
If you are in need of more information about business immigration, please check the pertinent section of our Website or call our offices at (847) 564-0712.