The New Year signals the beginning of the process for filing H-1B petitions towards the FY 2016 Cap. While the USCIS will only begin receiving petitions on April 1, 2015, the preparations need to begin earnestly at the present time by employers seeking fresh U.S. work visas for their employees.
In line with the economic growth and increasing number of jobs in the United States, it is expected that there will be a record number of filings this year with more than 225,000 cases likely to be filed. It is almost certain that the Cap will be reached within the first five business days and that the USCIS will institute a lottery of submitted cases. As per the law, USCIS is mandated to accept cases until April 7th, 2015 this year. In FY 2015, the USCIS received approximately 172,500 petitions during the same time frame.
As the primary method for non-immigrant skilled workers to obtain U.S. work authorization, H-1B visas are in high demand. 65,000 regular visas for skilled workers and 20,000 H-1B visas for Master’s degree holders from a U.S. University will be available under the FY 2016 cap. Those who will receive these visas will be eligible to start work on October 1, 2015.
For planning purposes, intending petitioners should consider early February 2015 for a deadline to finalize cases and obtain all the necessary supporting documentation as the Labor Condition Application certification can be significantly delayed during the filing season. Recent USCIS application of stricter definitions of law and generation of RFEs necessitates petitions to be constructed in a stronger and more thorough manner.
Please feel free to contact our firm with any questions or issues that you may have. You may reach us via telephone at +1 (202) 618 4540 or via email at info@USILaw.com. We look forward to the opportunity of working with you and your organization during this filing season.