• FY2014 H-1B Filing Season is Upon Us
  • January 31, 2013 | Author: Silas M. Ruiz-Steele
  • Law Firm: Barley Snyder - York Office
  • On April 1, 2013, the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen and Immigration Services will begin accepting applications for the H-1B visa, a non-immigrant visa that permits employment of certain foreign workers in specialty occupations. Only a limited number of H-1B visas, however, are available each year. In 2014, the Congressionally-mandated quota is 65,000 H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 reserved for applicants who hold U.S. master’s degrees or higher. A limited number of employers—higher educational institutions, nonprofit entities affiliated with higher educational institutions, and nonprofit and government research organizations—are exempt from the quota, as are certain foreign nationals, such as those who have previously been granted H-1B status and physicians who have received “Conrad 30” waivers.

    To have the best chance of obtaining an H-1B number under the new cap, it is best to have the H-1B petition filed on the earliest possible date, April 1, 2013. In fiscal year 2010, the quota was reached in nine months. Two years ago, it closed in November, but last year it was reached in less than two months. If companies file for the visa at the same rate they have in the past, we expect to see the FY 2014 quota reached the first day.

    With each passing day after April 1, the risk increases that an employer will not obtain an H-1B visa. Therefore, we recommend starting the H-1B process as soon as possible. Starting the application process now gives the necessary time to complete the proper forms, draft support letters, obtain a certified Labor Condition Application, and collect all evidence necessary to prove the position’s specialized nature.