It’s H-1B filing season. Once again, the number of H-1B visas is subject to an annual cap. Under the regular H-1B cap, 65,000 H-1B visas are available. An exemption from the H-1B cap is available for the first 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries with relevant master’s degrees. In order to maximize your chances, petitions should be submitted on April 3, 2017, which is the first business day such petitions are being accepted. USCIS will continue to accept properly filed petitions during the first five business days before conducting a random lottery.
Employers should begin, if not already in process, collecting the necessary documentation to support their petition in anticipation of the upcoming deadline. Before filing on April 3, 2017, employers are also required to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. Currently the DOL is processing these applications in approximately 7-10 days, so it is important to keep this in mind for planning purposes.
Given the administration’s stance on immigration matters, it is probable, and even likely, that changes will be made to the current H-1B process. If you are considering filing an H-1B for your foreign worker(s), this year may be the time to do so.