If you have a foreign national employee who is authorized to work for you pursuant to Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM OPT, now is the time to think about H-1B registration.

OPT allows foreign national students who have completed a degree program in the U.S., to temporarily work in the U.S. for up to 12 months (with an additional 24-months for STEM OPT students). In order to continue to employ these employees past their OPT or STEM OPT employment authorization period, you must act now, regardless of how much time is left.

A popular option for these recent graduates who have earned a bachelor's degree or higher is the H-1B visa. There is an annual cap for new H-1B beneficiaries, which means there are only 65,000 new H-1B visas issued per year, and there have been hundreds of thousands of people who have registered in past years, creating a massive shortage of visas. As a result, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented an electronic registration (which is a lottery) to select who may apply for an H-1B visa.

Today, USCIS announced that H-1B registrations must be submitted between March 1, 2023 and March 17, 2023.

If employers have not already done so, now is the time to identify current and potential foreign national employees who may benefit from registering for the annual H-1B cap. Although the most common applicant is a recently-graduated foreign student, the H-1B is an option for other foreign nationals who need employment authorization as well.

Our team is prepared to work with you to strategize the best options and plan for continued employment of your foreign national employees. You don't want to miss this year's registration period – it only comes around once a year!

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.