Will You be Ready for the H-1B Lottery on April 3rd?
In less than two months, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting new H-1B petitions filed under the Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018) H-1B quota. As in past years, the annual quota will be reached in the first week that new petitions are accepted; a lottery will be used to select petitions.
In order to maximize your chance of securing an H-1B visa, employers should prepare now to file H-1B petitions for receipt by USCIS on April 3rd.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of employee qualifies for an H-1B visa?
The H1-B is a nonimmigrant visa category allowing U.S. employers to seek temporary employment for professional and skilled foreigners who have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree and who will be temporarily employed in a "specialty occupation."
U.S. businesses use the H-1B visa program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as engineers, architects or computer programmers.
For example, last year, the firm assisted U.S. employers obtain H-1B visas for employees to work as a graphic designer, architect/designer, product development coordinator, industrial designer, and marketing strategist. This year the firm has already been engaged to assist U.S. employers obtain H-1B visas for occupations like architectural drafter, event planner and account manager.
How far in advance must one initiate new H-1B cases?
Before an H-1B petition can be filed with USCIS, a Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be filed with and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). DOL normally takes approximately 5-7 business days to certify an LCA; therefore, the minimum lead-time to prepare and file an H-1B petition is about 2 weeks.
If your company has never filed an H-1B petition before, or if your company has undergone reorganization or has received a new Federal Employer Identification Number since the last H-1B petition was filed, please note that it will likely be necessary to obtain "clearance" of the company's FEIN with the DOL before the DOL will permit an LCA filing. The FEIN clearance process can take several business days. The FEIN clearance procedure adds approximately 1-2 weeks to the lead-time for filing an H-1B petition.
Because of the volume of case initiations anticipated in the weeks leading up to the April 3, 2017 filing date, employers should initiate new H-1B petitions as early as possible. Contact Bander Law Firm, PLLC as soon as you have identified one or more H-1B candidates.
What's the earliest date a new H-1B petition can be filed?
USCIS will accept new H-1B petitions received on April 3, 2017. New H-1B petitions received earlier than April 3rd will be rejected. Bander Law Firm, PLLC can assist you to make sure that your petition is timely filed.
When the cap is reached in the first week of filing, which petitions will be entered into the "lottery" for an H-1B number?
When the H-1B cap is reached during the first five business days that filings are accepted (April 3 - 7, 2017), ALL petitions received during this period will be entered into the "lottery."
For whom should we consider filing H-1B petitions this year?
Employers should identify all potential new H-1B candidates and initiate new H-1B cases as quickly as possible. The most likely new H-1B candidates include:
- F-1 students, even if they have several months or more remaining on their F-1 Optional Practical Training; and
- New-hire candidates living and residing abroad who have not recently held H-1B status.
If you have identified one or more H-1B candidates, contact Bander Law Firm, P.L.L.C. as early as possible to discuss qualification and to initiate the required LCA and DOL filings. Don't be caught flat-footed before April 3, 2017.
What documents and information are required?
The H-1B petitioner must document that there will be a true employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary and must demonstrate that the position offered is bona fide and qualifies as a "specialty occupation." The beneficiary must document his or her qualifications by providing copies of degrees and/or transcripts (or employment verification letters when required to demonstrate professional experience in lieu of a degree). Bander Law Firm, PLLC will provide additional, case-specific checklists which may be applicable on a case-by-case basis.
Please contact Bander Law Firm, P.L.L.C. regarding a new H-1B petition. You can contact Stephen Bander at 786-924-1255 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss. We are happy to assist.