by Sophia Asare & Rahul Reddy, Attorneys at Law
The H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Cap season will begin on April 1, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for FY 2014 within the first week of the filing period, and we expect FY 2015 to be no different. With less than three months before the start of the new H-1B season, we strongly recommend that employers get an early start on new H1B filings.
THE ANNUAL CAP
The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visas are allotted for the advanced degree exemption limit.
Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap do not count toward the congressionally mandated H-1B cap. The following H-1B petitions do not fall under the cap:
·Petitions to extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States.
·Petitions to change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers.
·Petitions to allow current H-1B workers to change employers.
·Petitions to allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
Further, petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
If you intend to file cap-subject H-1B petitions on April 1, 2014, the earlier you get started the better. Plan accordingly for Department of Labor (DOL) Labor Condition Application (LCA) (Form ETA 9035) processing times as you begin preparing your H-1B petitions. A certified LCA must be submitted at the time of filing the H-1B petition. A copy of the LCA is acceptable.
In addition, you must submit evidence of the beneficiary's education credentials at the time of filing the H-1B petition. If you are indicating that the beneficiary is qualified based on a combination of education and experience, substantiating evidence, such as an
education evaluation, must be submitted at time of filing. Plan accordingly for the time it will take to gather education documents and any required substantiating evidence of the Beneficiary’s qualifications.
We recommend that you consult with an attorney if you intend on filing new H-1B petitions on April 1, 2014.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers in Houston & Dallas advises clients throughout the H-1B visa application process, including responding to various requests for evidence and consular processing issues. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.