Prepare H-1B Petitions Now

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The demand for cap-subject H-1B numbers for fiscal year 2015 which begins on October 1, 2014 is expected to be greater than last year. Employers planning to file cap-subject H-1B petitions for foreign workers in specialty occupations are advised to initiate the H-1B petition process as early as possible.

 

Last year, 124,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions were filed during the first week of filing. Each fiscal year, an H-1B quota of 65,000 is allotted to foreign workers in specialty occupations with an additional 20,000 for graduates with advanced degrees from the U.S. This year, the annual cap is expected to be reached during the first five business days of filing. The first day of cap-subject H-1B filing is on April 1, 2014, a Tuesday.

Employers whose H-1B petitions were among the 39,000 petitions not assigned a number in last year’s lottery will most likely file another H-1B petition for their prospective employees. This will further augment the growing demand for H-1B numbers for fiscal year 2015 which is mainly because of the improving economy and the rising need for H-1B workers in the Information Technology (IT) and financial fields.

The race for an H-1B number this year will require early preparation. Before the actual filing with the USCIS, the H-1B employer must obtain a certified labor condition application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). The employer makes several attestations in the LCA including a promise to pay the required wage to the worker for the entire period of the authorized employment.

The employers also attest in the LCA that the current employees and the union, if any, are given notice of the petition and that there are no strike or lockout in the occupational classification at the place of employment.

Processing time of LCAs may vary. Employers who are filing H-1B petitions for the first time may be required to submit documents to verify tax identification numbers. The expected high volume of LCA filings may also delay the processing of LCAs.

The H-1B petition must also have documentary evidence of the beneficiary’s educational background and work experience to make him eligible for H-1B classification. Documentary evidence includes diploma, transcript of records, credentials evaluations and license to practice the profession, if required, among others.

If the beneficiary’s diploma has not been issued yet, the USCIS allows the submission of other evidence. The final transcript as well as the letter from the Registrar confirming that all degree requirements have been met may suffice. It must be noted that all documents submitted should come from a verifiable authorized official of the school. Gathering these documents from beneficiaries will definitely entail time.

Given the limited number of H-1B visa numbers available each year, the race for an H-1B number will require early preparation and no room for error. Employers who are planning to file cap-subject H-1B sponsorship for prospective employees should therefore start the process now.

 

 

(Editor’s Note: REUBEN S. SEGURITAN has been practicing law for over 30 years. For more information, you may log on to his website at www.seguritan.com or call (212) 695-5281.)