April 1 is the deadline for cap-subject employers to file their H-1B petitions for skilled foreign workers. However, it is important not to wait until the last minute to file petitions for this visa type. The demand for H-1B visas currently exceeds the number of available visas and USCIS exhausted its supply within days of the April 1 deadline in 2013 through 2015. With no further reforms in sight, USCIS may only approve 65,000 new H-1B petitions per fiscal year ( the "cap") with an additional 20,000 set aside available each fiscal year for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. Employers should contact their Maggio + Kattar attorney now to begin planning for new H-1B petitions and ensure they are best positioned to meet their staffing goals.
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. Petitions for new H-1B visas must be within a week from the April 1 deadline 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. Please contact your Maggio + Kattar attorney to discuss your 2016 staffing plans, options available to your employees, and to ensure timely filing of your petitions.