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  • Fletcher Granite Company, LLC
  • Chapter 11 liquidation of largest U.S. supplier of granite curb
  • National Dentex Corporation
  • Public company merger with GeoDigm Corporation
  • BrandMuscle, Inc.
  • Aquisition of Saepio Technologies, Inc.

Time to Assess H-1B Needs, as April 1st Filing Date Approaches

Berin Romagnolo March 4, 2013

The US Government will begin accepting applications for new H-1B employees in a few weeks, on April 1st.   So, it is time to survey potential new hires and current employees in other immigration categories (ex: F-1 OPT's, TN's, J-1’s, and L-1's) to identify who will need H-1B visa's, and start preparing those H-1B applications now.

Brief Background of the H-1B Quota

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) generally only issues 65,000 H-1B visas per year, plus an additional 20,000 H-1B's for those with at least a Master’s Degree from a U.S. institution.  It starts accepting applications for these quota-subject H-1B’s on April 1st, with an employment start date of October 1st or later.  There are several categories of H-1B employees who are not subject to these quotas or timelines, including: (1) current H-1B’s who are applying to extend their expiration dates, (2) current H-1B’s who are applying to change employers, and (3) employees who will work for an institution of higher education.  Employers can submit H-1B applications for these quota-exempt employees any time, requesting any employment start date.  

Timing of H-1B Applications

Employers can file cap-subject H-1B petitions on April 1st every year.  In years past, the Government received three times as many applications as H-1B quota slots on April 1st, giving employers only a 33% chance of getting an H-1B for their employees.  With the downturn of the economy, however, the quota has been taking longer to reach.  This past fiscal year, the quota was reached in June.  Employers appear to be hiring, and, thus, it is safest to apply for the new H-1B’s on April 1st, or as close to April 1st as possible, to minimize the chance of filing too late, after the quota has been reached.  If the H-1B quota-subject application is received by the USCIS after the quota is reached, it will be rejected and returned, and there will be no more new H-1B’s issued until October 1, 2014, which could mean that the employer’s current or prospective employee will be left without any immigration status and will have to leave the U.S.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers should assess their current and future staffing needs to determine if they will need to either: (1) apply for an initial H-1B for a new hire (to start on October 1st or later), or (2)  apply for an H-1B for a current or prospective employee in the US in another non-immigrant status (such as TN, F-1 OPT, J-1, EAD, or L-1 status).  Contact your immigration counsel with any questions and to get started on the new H-1B needs. 

If you have any questions or need additional information regarding this, please contact Berin S. Romagnolo in our Immigration Group.

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. ©2013 Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP.  All rights reserved.

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