The H-1B filing deadline will soon be approaching on April 1, 2015. Accordingly, employers should begin preparations to file their H-1B applications for any new F-1 students who are working for them under an Occupational Training Program (OPT) and any foreign nationals not presently in the U.S. that they wish to hire.
H-1B Visa Eligibility Requirements
The H-1B non-immigrant visa is available to foreign workers who are employed by U.S. companies in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, the employee must meet the following requirements:
- The applicant’s job position requires a bachelor’s or higher degree;
- The applicant possesses at least a bachelor’s degree or its U.S. equivalent, or a combination of education and experience equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree; and
- The wage offered to the applicant is at least the prevailing wage, or the actual wage paid to other professionals similarly employed, whichever is higher.
Why Employers Need to Be Prepared
Each year, the USCIS sets the quota limit for H-1B visas. Once this quota is met, USCIS will not issue any more H-1B visas until the following year. Accordingly, it is absolutely critical that employers are aware of the quota limit, along with the date that petition filings open, so that they can submit H-1B visa petitions as soon as the filing period opens.
The H-1B cap remains at 65,000 in the general category and 20,000 in the advanced degree category. Although the limit could be increased if comprehensive immigration reform passes in the upcoming weeks, but no chances to the H-1B cap were announced as part of President Obama’s executive actions and immigration reform remains questionable at this point.
H-1B visa petition filings open on April 1, 2015 for the FY 2016 quota, and the H-1B visa cap is expected to be reached rather quickly, as it has been in recent years. The quota limit is expected to be reached rather quickly as in previous years. Accordingly, we strongly recommend that employers prepare in advance and mail their H-1B visa petitions on March 31, 2015 so that they can be received by USCIS on April 1, 2015. But do not send the petition in too early as any H-1B petitions subject to the cap that are received by USCIS before April 1, 2015 will be rejected.
As we reported, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received approximately 172,500 H-1B petitions during the first week of the filing period. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process to select those petitions that would be used to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 advanced degree exemption cap. Unfortunately, those petitions that were not randomly selected were rejected and returned to the petitioner along with the applicable filing fees.
Contact Us Now for Help with Your H-1B Visa Petition
The Chicago employment immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group have more than 30 years of experience helping clients with their visa and immigration needs. We have considerable experience with the H-1B petition and can guide employers through the entire process. With quota requirements in mind, we will work with you to promptly file the necessary application with the necessary supporting documentation. Contact us at (847) 564-0712 to discuss your visa needs with one of our employment immigration lawyers.