New H-1B visa petitions can be filed with the United States
Citizenship & Immigration Services beginning April 1, 2014.
Employers seeking to hire professional, foreign workers should
contact Blank Rome's Immigration Team to commence the H-1B visa
process. The annual H-1B numerical quota is expected to be reached
earlier than in previous years. Therefore, employers hoping to use
the H-1B program are recommended to begin the filing process as
early as possible.
The H-1B visa is an attractive option for employers that rely on
the temporary employment of foreign professionals in the United
States. Specifically, this visa category offers work authorization
to foreign nationals employed in specialty occupations. A
"specialty occupation" is broadly defined as a position
requiring at least a bachelor's degree in a specific academic
field. Based on this criterion, the H-1B visa captures a wide range
of occupations, making it especially popular among U.S
Congress has set an annual limit for H-1B visas at 65,000 per
fiscal year (with an additional 20,000 reserved for occupations
requiring an advanced degree from a U.S. institution).1
Given the H-1B visa's versatility and popularity, this annual
quota is often reached shortly after the filing period opens.
The Importance of Early Preparation
The demand for H-1B visas is expected to be even higher this
year than last year, when the cap was met during the first week of
April 2014. We expect that the cap will be met within the first
week of filing this year as well. Petitions are accepted on a
"first-come-first-serve" basis. Any applications filed
after the cap is met will be returned and cannot be re-filed until
the following year.
To maximize the chances that your H-1B petition is included in
the cap, Labor Condition Applications ("LCAs") should be
submitted to the DOL by the beginning of March, and petitions
should be ready for filing on or before April 1, 2014. Gathering
the necessary supporting documentation and preparing the H-1B visa
filing materials can be time consuming. Preparation includes
assembling background and education documents, drafting and signing
letters and forms, and submitting an LCA with the Department of
Labor for certification. Early preparation is therefore
Evaluating Employees Working Pursuant to Optional Practical
Please consider all F-1 students hired by your company working
pursuant to OPT. It is critical that the need for an H-1B visa be
considered and evaluated even if the employee currently has
employment authorization. Failure to file their H-1B visa this
filing season could result in a lapse of employment
Selecting Blank Rome for Your H-1B Filing Needs
Blank Rome's Immigration Team is located within the
Firm's Employment, Benefits, and Labor Practice. Our seasoned
immigration attorneys and specialists are ready to handle your H-1B
filing needs. Whether this is your first time petitioning for a
foreign worker, or whether your company has utilized the H-1B visa
in the past, we are ready to provide the level of support and
attention you require.
1. The yearly numerical limitation does not apply to H-1B
visa renewals, amendments, or "change of employer"
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Employers of foreign nationals should note that registration for the Fiscal Year 2015 Diversity Visa ("DV") Lottery opened yesterday, October 1, 2013, at noon (EDT) and will remain open until noon (EDT) on Saturday, November 2, 2013.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) created and implemented the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) in July 2009, under which it conducts unannounced site inspections at the offices of U.S. employers to verify information contained in pending and approved visa petitions.