Employers: Don’t Miss the H-1B Deadline to Keep and Hire Talented Foreign Nationals

Authored by Diane E. Metzger

Jan 28, 2015

At the same time employers are busy getting W-2s out to their employees, employers should also be preparing now for this year’s H-1B Cap. If you currently employ foreign nationals in F-1, TN, L-1 or another visa status, or if you wish to employ a foreign national who is currently abroad, the time to act is now.

Under current U.S. immigration laws, the numerical limit of H-1B Deadline visas for each government fiscal year (beginning Oct. 1) is approximately 65,000 for the “regular” cap, with an additional 20,000 H-1B visas reserved for foreign workers holding a U.S. Master’s degree from an accredited institution (the “Master’s cap”). While some employers are exempt from “the cap,” most are not.

On April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will begin accepting cap-subject H-1B petitions for this year’s H-1B Cap. There has been a steady increase in H-1B filings in the past few years. In 2013 and 2014, the H-1B Cap quota was filled during the first week of filing, thus triggering the H-1B “lottery.” This year, it is anticipated that a sufficient number of H-1B petitions will once again be received during the first week of filing, thus triggering the H-1B lottery. Therefore, it is of crucial importance for employers seeking to sponsor an individual for an H-1B visa to act now so their application can be filed on April 1.

Failing to file an H-1B Cap petition for an employee on April 1 can have serious repercussions, including the possibility that you may not be able to hire the talented foreign nationals you need or to continue to employ an individual whose work authorization is expiring and for whom no H-1B visa is obtained. Therefore, employers who are considering sponsoring an employee for an H-1B visa should take immediate action to ensure your company’s HR and recruiting teams are working closely with immigration counsel to ensure any necessary visa applications can be prepared and filed on time.

If you have any questions about H-1B visas or any other business immigration matter, please feel free to contact Diane Metzger.

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