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H-1B’s Are Running Out Fast! Time To Assess H-1B Needs For The Fall
May 1, 2012
The H-1B visa is the most common work visa for “professional” foreign national employees. The U.S. government only issues 65,000 H-1B’s each fiscal year (October 1st to September 30th), with an additional 20,000 H-1B’s issued to those who have earned at least a Masters degree from a U.S. institution. Almost half of all of these H-1B’s are already issued and gone. The government has issued almost three times as many H-1B’s as they did at this time last year – and we are on track to run out of H-1B’s months earlier than we did last year (which was November, 2011). So, the time has come to assess hiring and employment needs for October 1st forward, and to get all H-1B applications filed.
What is an H-1B?
Generally, H-1B’s are for employees who work in positions that require at least a Bachelor’s degree, and the foreign national has the relevant Bachelor‘s degree (or its equivalent).
The Effect of the Quota
Once the H-1B quota is reached, employers will not be able to obtain initial H-1B work visas for their employees for almost one and a half years, until October 1, 2013, the start of the new fiscal year. So, if an employee needs to change into H-1B status for the first time, from F-1 OPT, TN, EAD, O-1 or L-1 status for example, their H-1B applications should be prepared and filed very soon, before the quota is reached. Otherwise, their current statuses may lapse, leaving them (and their families) without any status to live or work in the U.S.
The quota only affects an application to obtain an initial H-1B. Those seeking to extend an existing H-1B status or transfer an existing H-1B status to another employer can apply any time, regardless of the quota. In addition, the quota does not affect employees of institutions of higher education (or those affiliated with them) and of non-profit or governmental research organizations.
If you have any questions or need additional information regarding this, please contact Berin S. Romagnolo.
This Alert is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. According to Mass. SJC Rule 3:07, this material may be considered advertising. ©2012 Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP. All rights reserved.