U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) still has slots available in fiscal year 2013 for employers sponsoring foreign workers in specialty occupations under the H-1B program, but more than 60 percent of FY 2013 allocations under the regular cap have been snatched up in less than two months, so employers need to file petitions quickly for remaining slots. The demand for H-1B Masters Degree Exemptions has been even more brisk, with petitions having been filed for 80 percent of those slots already.
Employers who seek to hire workers in specialty occupations with a start date on or after October 1, 2012 (the start of the 2013 fiscal year) can still file visa petitions on behalf of those workers. By rule, the specialty occupations include, but are not limited to: scientists, engineers and computer programmers.
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 for FY 2013). Some petitions will be exempt from the cap if they are made on behalf of certain individuals who have obtained an advanced U.S. degree, but USCIS grants those exemptions only to the first 20,000 qualified applicants.
The current H-1B counts for petitions filed to date are as follows through May 18, 2012:
- H-1B Regular Cap: 42,000 cap eligible petitions; and
- H-1B Advanced Degree Exemption: 16,000 petitions.
Up to 6,800 visas may also be set aside for workers from Chile and Singapore, pursuant to the H-1B1 program arising out of the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements.
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 beneficiaries educational background; and
- Consulate-specific forms required by the Department of State, where appropriate.
If you are in need of legal assistance with a business immigration issue, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712 for an appointment to speak with a credentialed lawyer. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information on how we can assist you.