UNITED STATES – Plan Now for the 1 April 2016 Deadline for Cap-Subject H-1B Filings
1 April 2016 is the deadline for cap-subject employers to file their H-1B petitions for skilled foreign workers.
Why is this Significant?
It is important not to wait until the last minute to file petitions for this visa type. The demand for H-1B visas currently exceeds the number of available visas, and USCIS exhausted its supply within days of the 1 April deadline in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
With no further reforms in sight, USCIS may only approve 65,000 new H-1B petitions per fiscal year (the “cap”) with an additional 20,000 set aside available each fiscal year for individuals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions.
What is the H-1B Visa?
H-1B visas are the most common temporary work permits available to foreign national professionals. They are obtained routinely by U.S. corporations and other organisations that require foreign professional workers.
A U.S. employer can file an H-1B petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a foreign employee provided that the job requires (and the employee possesses) at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a particular field.
An H-1B employer also must attest to paying the same salary and benefits packages normally offered U.S. workers in similar positions and to observing the H-1B program's specific public notice and recordkeeping requirements.
Timeline for H-1B Petitions
Petitions for new H-1B visas must be received within 5 days of the 1 April deadline in order to be considered for approval. Workers benefiting from approved petitions may start work on 1 October of the same year.
H-1B Cap Exceptions
Note that there are certain exceptions to the cap, as well as other visa options that may be available to employers to facilitate their staffing needs.
• Start planning staffing for 2016, to ensure timely filing of your petitions and to review all options.