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H-1B Filing Season Started

H-1B ApprovalThe new H-1B fiscal year begins on October 1, 2015, when U.S. employers can add to their workforce up to 65,000 foreign nationals, plus additional 20,000 foreign nationals with a U.S. master’s or higher degree.  In addition, any unused H-1B1 numbers from Chile and Singapore will be added to the regular H-1B visa pool.  As the USCIS regulations permit the filing of H-1B petition no more than 180 days before the start date, and since the earliest state date for new H-1B employees would be October 1, 2015, the filing season begins today.  Most petitioners had everything ready for mailing on March 31, 2015 (yesterday) for USCIS receipt on April 1, 2015.

Based on prior experience, USCIS expects to receive more petitions than the Congressionally mandated numerical limitations.  The agency stated that it would monitor the number of petitions and will announce to the public when the cap has been met.

 

If the USCIS receives excess number of petitions during the first five business days (from April 1, 2015 through April 7, 2015), it will use a lottery system for a random selection of number of petitions required to meet the cap.  For the lottery, the USCIS will select more than 85,000 petitions to allow for potential denials.  USCIS will reject any unselected petitions as well as any petitions that are submitted after USCIS announces that the cap is closed.

The cap does not apply to individuals who already hold H-1B status and are seeking an extension or a change of status in the U.S. In addition, the cap does not apply to any persons who received a J waiver in the national interest, or to petitioners who are cap-exempt employers.

If you are an employer seeking to hire a foreign employee, contact a qualified immigration attorney right away.  The H-1B immigration attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer p.c. can answer your questions and can help you in the process.