In less than two months, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications for the much-coveted H-1B visa. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to work in the United States for a temporary period in a “specialty occupation.”
Employers planning to hire foreign workers in the coming fiscal year should be mindful of the increasingly competitive nature of H-1B visas – and the importance of planning ahead!
The USCIS allots a mere 65,000 visas per year for applicants with a Bachelor’s degree and 20,000 additional visas for applicants with advanced degrees. Because the demand for H-1B visas far exceeds the number of visas available under the cap, the USCIS typically stops accepting applications one week into the H-1B filing period, which starts on April 1. It then completes a computer-generated process to randomly select 85,000 visas for consideration and rejects the remaining applications outright. Due to the sheer volume of applications received by the USCIS, the odds of making it through this “lottery” are often slim. Last year, the USCIS received a whopping 236,000 applications during the first six days of the filing period.
Because of the time-sensitive nature of the H-1B visa, employers should start collecting supporting documentation now and submit the H-1B applications no later than the first day of the filing period, which starts on April 1, 2017.
Stites & Harbison has extensive experience preparing successful H-1B applications, and our attorneys stand ready to help guide you through the H-1B maze. Please contact Nina Maja Bergmar for more information about the H-1B visa and other types of visas available to prospective foreign employees.