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Start Planning for New H-1B Applications As April Deadline Nears

The demand for H-1B visas continues to rise.  Last year, demand for H-1B exceeded the available number of visas, and a lottery was held to determine which applications would be accepted. Employers should file H-1B applications by April 1, 2015, to ensure consideration for this year’s lottery and an opportunity to obtain a visa under the annual quota.   Failure to file by April 1st could mean employers will have to wait until October of 2016 to obtain an H-1B visa for their employees.

The H-1B visa category is essential to many businesses that wish to employ foreign nationals in professional positions.  Each year, the government makes available 65,000 new H-1B visas (this limit is commonly referred to as the “H-1B cap”) for those individuals who have not recently or ever previously held H-1B status.  The actual number of visas available under the cap is lower because of set-asides for certain countries under Free Trade Agreements.

The H-1B cap applies to “new” H-1B’s only, generally affecting individuals who currently do not hold or have not held H-1B status, such as students in F-1 status who are completing Optional Practical Training (OPT), TN status holders, L status holders, and the like.  It is especially important for employers of F-1 students to obtain the H-1B in a timely fashion.  This cap does not generally affect individuals currently or recently in H-1B status. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin to accept new H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY 2016) on April 1, 2015.  Further, under the advanced degree exemption, an additional 20,000 H-1B numbers available for individuals who have obtained a U.S. Master’s degree or higher.  Cases approved under the H-1B cap will have a start date of October 1, 2015, the first date of FY 2016.

Advanced planning will improve the chances of getting your application filed by April 1, 2015.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020


About this Author

Working in tandem with our labor and employment attorneys, our Immigration team provides comprehensive services to address clients’ needs quickly and effectively in both the compliance and immigration benefits areas. We provide innovative and cost-effective immigration guidance to employers, including identifying creative visa options and strategies for the global migration of critical staff and hiring of foreign workers.

Our attorneys have a particular appreciation for the urgency required in obtaining visas for needed international personnel...