The H-1B Cap Cometh

Monday, March 10, 2014 - 11:00am

Its finally warming up here in DC, which means Spring is right around the corner, and with it, the April 1 deadline for employers to file their H-1B petitions for skilled foreign workers.

H-1B visas are the most common temporary work permits available to foreign national professionals. They are obtained routinely by U.S. corporations and other organizations that require foreign professional workers. A U.S. employer can file an H-1B petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a foreign employee provided that the job requires (and the employee possesses) at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a particular field. An H-1B employer also must attest to paying the same salary and benefits packages normally offered U.S. workers in similar positions and to observing the H-1B program's specific public notice and recordkeeping requirements.

The government strictly limits H-1B petitions by fiscal year. USCIS may only approve 65,000 new H-1B petitions per fiscal year with an additional set aside available each fiscal year for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. These petitions must be received no later than April 1 in order to be considered for approval. Workers benefiting from approved petitions may start work October 1.

There are certain exceptions to the cap, as well as other visa options that may be available to employers to facilitate their staffing needs. You should speak with your Maggio+Kattar attorney to discuss options available to your employees and ensure timely filing of your petitions.