Predictions for 2014:
H-1B deadline Quickly Approaching
- Comprehensive immigration reform will be passed by the end of the year 2014. This will cause the largest migration of employees from one employer to another once 11 million people have “legal status."
- Employees from India, China and other countries will be waiting fewer years for permanent visas and for authorization for their spouses to work.
- There will be special visa allocations for graduates with STEM degrees- those in science, technology, engineering and math.
- Foreign owned companies from Treaty countries such as Canada, England, Japan, Israel and Korea will have an easier time hiring new employees from their home country for work in the U.S. than U.S. companies will have in hiring a person outside the U.S.
- The H-1B quota will increase after the initial filing date of April 1, 2014 which means employers need to file on that date to protect their new hires.
The H-1B visa filing deadline for 2015 petitions is April 1, 2014. Petitions for the new fiscal year, which starts on October 1, 2014, will be accepted by the government beginning April 1, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to accept new H-1B petitions after April 1, 2014, but only until the H-1B cap is reached. This year the cap to be reached quickly. As a result of overall economic conditions improving over the past year, the H-1B cap to be reached as early as the first week of April. Once the H-1B cap has been reached, employers will be unable to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions until April 1, 2015. Congress has placed a numerical “cap” on H-1B visas. For FY 2015, the limit is 65,000 cap-subject H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 visas available for individuals who have earned a Master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. educational institution. It is hard to predict when this year’s H-1B quota will be exhausted, but it is advisable for employers to make H-1B sponsorship decisions within the next few weeks. It is important to prepare H-1B petitions as early as possible and well before April 1st so that a complete petition can be submitted to USCIS on the first day that the quota opens. It is advisable at this time that the petitioner pay additional $1,225 USCIS premium processing fee. The USCIS has to respond within 10 business days. It does not guarantee selection in the lottery or an approval, but it does bring certainty to the process.