For employers looking to bring non-U.S. citizens into the United States, an important immigration deadline is around the corner. Failure to plan properly for and meet this deadline may result in the employer’s inability to bring into the country its planned talent.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will accept new H-1B visa filings on April 1, 2015, for a start date of October 1, 2015. H-1Bs are for college degreed professionals, such as software developers, engineers, scientists and financial analysts. The annual quota is 85,000 visas and applies to first time H-1B filings, not to extensions with the same company or transfers to other companies. The demand for H-1Bs is expected to be twice the quota allocation. Congress has not increased the quota for many years.
Employers should check to see if they have a need for such a visa for either a possible new hire, or to keep a current foreign national employee work authorized who is on a post-graduation work permit.
Please note that it is important that before an employer extends a job offer to a foreign national who requires sponsorship, the employer should consult with counsel to make sure that all immigration eligibility issues are covered, such as their immigration history, eligibility for the visa, how much time in H-1B status they will be allowed and prevailing wage issues.
H-1Bs are good for three years and can be extended for an additional three years. They can be extended beyond year 6 as well if the company has sponsored the individual for permanent residency. For more information generally regarding H-1B visas, see the USCIS website.