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H-1B filing season approaches

It is now time for employers to start planning the H-1B petition filings for foreign national employees.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2017 cap on April 1, 2016.  Beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions will be eligible to start working on October 1, 2016, the beginning of the FY 2017.  While April 1 may appear to be away, it will be here sooner than you expect.

The H-1B visa category provides for the temporary employment of foreign nationals in “specialty occupations” for which at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required (for example, accountants, pharmacists, computer programmers, engineers, lawyers, teachers, and many other professions).

There is cap of 65,000 visas per year plus 20,000 visas for workers who possess U.S.-earned master’s or higher degrees.  It is expected, as in the previous years, that petitions received from April 1 to April 7 (the first five business days of April) will be considered in the H-1B “lottery” (computer-generated random selection process).  The lottery will select H-1B petitions, which will be accepted for adjudication.

As the economy improved and a large number of H-1B candidates is expected to apply this year, we advise employers to be proactive and move quickly to ensure their H-1B petitions are prepared and ready to be filed prior to April 1, 2016.  Keep in mind that prior to filing of the H-1B petition, a labor condition application has to be certified by the Department of Labor and must be submitted with the H-1B petition.  For more information and help with your H-1B petitions, call us today at 480-425-2009 or contact us through our website!