Labor Immigration Law

United States Labor Immigration Law News and Analysis

Archive for April, 2013

FY2014 H-1B Work Visa Cap Reached as of April 5th — Alternatives to H-1B

Many of our readers are aware that as of April 5, 2013, USCIS has received a sufficient number of H-1B cap-subject petitions to fill the annual H-1B quota.  All cap-subject new H-1B petitions received by USCIS on or after April 5th have been rejected.  Additionally, due to the high number of H-1B petitions (124,000), the government has run a lottery to allocate the available 85,000 H-1B visas.   Well before the H-1B cap season, our office was anticipating that the demand this year would be very high and we have repeatedly warned our readers and clients that the H-1B cap filing window this year would be extremely narrow.   As a result,  some employer and prospective employees who wanted to take advantage of the H-1B program this year are unable to do so — either because they were unable to file between April 1st and 5th or because their application was not picked by the H-1B lottery.     We seek to provide some alternatives which may be available.

Alternatives to H-1B Cap Petitions

Now that the H-1B quota has been reached, we are receiving an increasing number of inquiries by both cap-subject employers and prospective employees about the alternatives for work authorization between now and October 1, 2014, when the new fiscal year’s H-1B quota would begin (as a reminder, April 1, 2014 is the earliest a cap-subject H-1B application can be filed).  We describe some of the most common H-1B visa alternatives.  Note that the list is not intended to exhaust all possible visa types and scenarios pursuant to which an employee may be legally employed.  Our goal is to list some of the common options for the benefit of our clients and readers.  We are happy to discuss individual cases as part of our FREE initial consultation.

Cap-Exempt H-1B

A number of employers may qualify to be cap-exempt and are allowed to file for H-1B petition at any time.   A cap-exempt employer is (1) an institution of higher education, (2) related or affiliated to a higher education institution nonprofit entity, or  (3) nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization.  Please see our cap-exempt H-1B employer guide.   As a result, many educational institutions, non-profit and research organizations may qualify to file cap-exempt H-1Bs.   We are happy to help evaluate whether an employer can qualify to be cap-exempt.

O-1 or P-1 Extraordinary Ability Visas

O-1 and P-1 visas are generally reserved for individuals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts (including the television and motion picture industry), education, business, or athletics.  By definition, not many individuals qualify for one or both of these visa types, but where possible, an application for O-1 and/or P-1 should be prepared in lieu of H-1B.   In addition to being able to obtain work authorization pursuant to these visa types, an O-1 and/or P-1 approval may establish the basis for the subsequent application for an EB-1 category permanent residency.  Please contact us if you would like our help in evaluating your O-1 and/or P-1 visa case.

L-1 Intracompany Transferee

The L-1 visa type allows multinational companies who have presence abroad to transfer their employees from their overseas offices to their U.S. office (or to establish a new U.S. office).  This visa type is a good option for foreign employers seeking to establish or boost their U.S. presence and for foreign nationals currently employed abroad.   Foreign nationals who are currently in the U.S. generally will not qualify for L-1 visa.  An added benefit to the L-1 visa is that family members are entitled to a work authorization pursuant to L-2 status.

TN for Canadian and Mexican Professional Workers

An option available to certain Canadian and Mexican nationals in certain occupations is the TN visa classification.   It is available to citizens of Canada and Mexico who would be employed in the U.S. in one of the designated occupations.  The TN visa is not subject to a cap and can be obtained fairly easily either by applying at the border (for Canadians) or by filing a petition with USCIS.    Please see more information on the TN visa classification.

E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader or Investor

The E-1/E-2 visas allow nationals of countries with which the U.S. has trade treaties to invest an amount in the U.S. and receive an E-1 (treaty trader) or E-2 (treaty investor) visa.  See a list of treaty countries.

The E-1 treaty trader visa is suitable if the foreign national has a multinational employer who is willing to transfer them, and the company has significant trade between the foreign country and the U.S.  The employee must also have skills which are essential to the operation of the company trade.   Dependents of E-1 visa holder are eligible for work in the U.S.

The E-2 treaty investor allows foreign nationals to invest (preferably) a substantial amount in the U.S. and obtain an E-2 visa to be able to manage and direct their investment.  The amount required for investment generally varies depending on the industry (the so called, proportionality test) with more capital-intensive industries requiring more significant investment for E-2 application.   Dependents of E-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization.

H-1B Program Changes by Congress Possible, Although Timing is Uncertain

Not entirely by coincidence, the comprehensive immigration reform proposal which was introduced in the U.S. Senate over the past couple of days increases substantially the H-1B cap, among other changes to the H-1B program and the immigration system, generally.     Please read our overview and analysis of this proposal.

Unfortunately, this proposal is likely to be subject to extensive discussion, amendments and negotiation here on Capitol Hill and we do not know if or when the proposed immigration reform would become a law.   As a result, we urge caution with respect to reading too much into the initial proposal.   However, if the proposal becomes a law, then the H-1B cap would expand significantly and hopefully,  in upcoming  H-1B cap years, we would not face this kind of extremely narrow filing H-1B cap window.

Wait and File on April 1, 2014 for the FY2015 Cap

For some of our clients, waiting until April 1, 2014 to file a new cap-subject H-1B petition may be the best (or only?) option.  The H-1B visa type, although subject to some requirements, is a fairly common visa type for which many qualified employees are eligible.    As of now, and assuming the proposed immigration reform is not enacted by then, the FY2015 H-1B cap is expected to be the same as it was for the FY2013 fiscal year – 65,000 H-1B visas (plus 20,000 for holders of U.S. master’s degrees).

Conclusion

Our office will continue to monitor developments relating to the H-1B program, this and next year’s caps and the immigration proposals.   In the meantime, please feel free to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to obtain developments on this and related topics. If our office can be of any help, please feel free to contact us.

No comments

Senate Immigration Reform Proposal Released: Summary and Analysis

Many of our clients and readers are aware that the U.S. Congress here in Washington, DC has been working on a comprehensive immigration proposal over the past few months.     Until today, there have been many proposals, a lot of discussion and even more rumors as to what may or may not be included in a comprehensive immigration proposal.  Today, the so-called “Gang of Eight” U.S. Senators have released their proposal for an immigration reform — The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 — and we finally have some actual and detailed proposal to share with our clients and readers.

Update (April 17, 2013):  the full text of the proposed legislation has been made available.

Please note that at this point, this is only a proposed legislation and is not the law.

Summary of the Proposed Immigration Reform

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 deals with a number of immigration issues:

  • Family Visa (Green Card) Program.   Allows unlimited number of immigrant visas per year for spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents.   Eighteen months after enactment of the law, eliminates immigrant visas for foreign brothers and sisters of US citizens, and married children over 30 years of age.  Backlog to be eliminated.
  • Employment Visa (Green Card) Program.  Backlog targeted for elimination.  Derivative beneficiaries (spouses/children) will be exempt from the annual visa numerical limits.  Also, exempt will be extraordinary ability, outstanding professors/researchers, multinational executives/managers, Ph.D. holders and certain physicians.  Increased allocation for EB-2 and recent U.S. STEM Master’s degree holders.
  • Startup Visa (Green Card) Created.  The proposal would create a startup visa for entrepreneurs who seek to emigrate to the U.S. to start their own company.
  • Merit Based Visa (Green Card) Created.  After five years, a new merit-based visa will be created and would allocate green cards based on points awarded on the basis of education, employment, length of residence in the US and other factors.   120,000 visas available per year, with annual adjustments.
  • H-1B Cap, Salaries and Fees Increases; H-1B Dependent Employers.   The H-1B cap will double to 110,000 with the possibility of adjustments of the cap of up to 180,000 per year.  The minimum H-1B salary will increase and the fees paid by H-1B employers will be increased.   Employers will see limits on how many H-1B workers they can have.
  • Guest Worker Program.  Establishes a new visa program for 20,000 foreigners in low-skilled jobs starting in 2015.   The number of visas increases to 75,000 in 2019.   A new federal agency will analyze employment date to make adjustments on the cap – with a maximum of 200,000 annually.   Construction companies will be limited to no more than 15,000 per year.   There is also a “safety-valve” to allow additional visas in excess of the annual cap provided employers pay workers higher wages.
  • Farm Worker Program.   Visas for agriculture workers (including those who are without authorization) would be made available and wages will have to be based on survey of labor-market data.  The H-2A program will be eliminated once the new W-2 or W-3 program is operational.
  • Diversity Visa (Green Card) Lottery.   To be eliminated in 2015.
  • Path to Citizenship.   Most of the 11 million people who are in the country without authorization would be able to apply for a green card after 10 years and for citizenship three after that.   Applicants must pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English and pass background check.   The cutoff date for eligibility is December 31, 2011.   Dream Act youth can obtain green cards in five years and citizenship immediately thereafter.
  • Border Control and E-Verify Required.   The Department of Homeland Security will receive funding to improve border security with drones, agents and fencing.   US companies must implement the E-Verify employment authorization system which ensures that workers are legal residents within five years.   All non-citizens will be required to show “biometric work authorization card” or “biometric green card.”   A new entry/exit tracking system will be implemented at ports to better track foreign visitors who overstay their visas.

Family and Employment-Based Immigrant Visas

The proposed immigration law will substantially revise the current family- and employment-based immigrant visa (green card) system.  It will aim to eliminate the current (significant) backlog in most of the immigrant visa categories and then, in five years, introduce a merit-based immigrant visa.

Family-based.

Out of the four family-based preference categories (which have annual limit of 480,000), two will be eliminated and the eligibility for the rest will be revised.   Under the new bill, there will be two family-based categories and they will cover unmarried adult children; married adult children who file before age 31, and unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents.   The V visa will be expanded to allow individuals with approved family petition to reside in the US and other family members to visit the US for up to 60 days per year.

The bill removes immigrant visas for siblings of U.S. citizens (in 18 months after the bill is enacted) and amends the definition of “immediate relative” to include a child or spouse of an alien admitted for lawful permanent residence.  Also, the existing category for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens is amended to include only sons and daughters who are under 31 years of age.

Employment-based.

The new bill will exempt the annual numerical limitations the following categories:  derivative beneficiaries (spouses/children) of employment-based immigrants; aliens of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors/researchers; multinational executives and managers; Ph.D. degree holders in any field; and certain physicians.  Currently, all of these categories are counted under the annual numerical limits and, as a result, are slowing down the approval of the immigrant visas for everyone else.

Forty percent of the employment-based immigrant visas will be allocated to what are now considered to be EB-2 workers with the addition of recent (the five years before petition is filed) U.S. master’s degree holders in a STEM field.

Additionally, an increased allocation (forty percent) of the annual employment-based limit will be allocated to skilled workers, professionals and other professionals.  The limit to immigrant visas for special immigrants will be ten percent and visas for those who foster employment creation (entrepreneurs/job creators) will also be limited to ten percent.

The bill would also create a startup visa for foreign entrepreneurs who seek to emigrate to the U.S. to start their own companies (and presumably create jobs).

Merit-based.

The merit-based immigrant visa will be created in the fifth year after enactment of the proposal and would award points to applicants on the basis of education, employment, length of residence in the US and other factors.   The applicants with the most points would be granted the merit-based immigrant visa.   The annual limit would be set at 120,000 and the number would increase by 5% per year if demand exceeds supply in any year, assuming the U.S. unemployment rate is under 8.5%.  The cap cannot exceed 250,000 per year.

Until the merit-based program starts (five years after enactment), the government will allocate the visa numbers to employment-based applicants who have been pending for more than three years, family-based petitions filed prior to enactment and pending for more than five years, long-term immigrants (those who have been in the US for 10 years).  In other words, the government will use these numbers to decrease the current backlog in the employment and family immigrant visa categories.

H-1B Visa Reformed – Cap and Fees Will Increase; H-4 Spouses May Work; Additional Requirements on H-1B Employers

Cap Increase.

The H-1 work visa program is set to be revised substantially.  The H-1B cap will be doubled from 65,000 to 110,000 per year, with the U.S. master’s cap amended to include only U.S. master’s degree holders in STEM fields and with the cap for such holders increased to 25,000 per year.   The H-1B cap will be adjusted annually, depending on demand and can go as high as 180,000 per year (but with maximum annual adjustment of 10,000).

H-1B Fees.

The H-1B fees will increase substantially, for some (mostly H-1B dependent) employers.  If an employer has 50 or more employees and more than 30% but less than 50% are H-1B or L-1 employees (who do not have a green card petition pending), the employer must pay a $5,000 fee per additional worker in either H-1B or L-1 status.  If the employer has 50 or more employees and 50% are on H-1B or L-1 status (and do not have a green card petition pending), then the additional fee is $10,000 per worker.

H-1B Employee Number Limits and Recruitment Requirements.

The bill also introduces certain restrictions on the number of H-1B employees a company can have.   Starting fiscal year 2014, companies will be banned from brining any additional workers if more than 75% of their workers are H-1B or L-1 employees.   Starting fiscal year 2015, the ban applies to companies if more than 65% of their workforce are H-1B and L-1 workers and in fiscal year 2016, the ban moves down to 50%.  It is unclear if pending green card applicants would be included in this count.

Before an employer can file an H-1B petition, the employer will have to recruit American workers first.  The Department of Labor will have a searchable website for posting H-1B positions and employers will have to post a detailed job opening on this website for 30 days before hiring an H-1B applicant to fill that position.

H-4 Employment Authorization

The bill would allow spouses of H-1B workers (who are on H-4 status) to obtain work authorization if the country of origin provides reciprocal treatment to spouses of U.S. workers.

H-1B Portability.

The bill would create a 60-day transitional period during which H-1B workers will be eligible to change jobs – in contrast to the current system where there is no grace period between switching jobs.

Dual Intent for F-1 Student Status.

The bill would create dual intent for F-1 students who apply to come to the U.S. to study in a bachelor’s (or higher) level program.  This should make it easier for many F-1 students to obtain a visa stamp at the U.S. Consulate as a substantial number of F-1 visas are being denied due to some immigrant intent.

New Guest Worker Program

The bill proposed a new guest worker program which would be a “W” visa.   The W visa holder will be able to come to the US o perform services or labor for a “registered” employer in a “registered” position.  Spouses and children would be able to accompany the worker and would be given work authorization.   There will be an annual cap of 20,000 initially, with annual increase to a maximum of 75,000 in 2019.  Afterwards, the annual cap would vary depending on a calculation of employment and demand with an increase in the cap being linked to lower unemployment and increase in the required salary – the so-called “safety valve”

The maximum period of stay for W nonimmigrants would be 3 years and may be renewed for an additional 3-year period.  There is a limit on unemployment (60 consecutive days).

Employers who wish to employ W visa workers will have to submit an application and describe the type and number of employees needed.  Before an application can be submitted, however, the employer would have to advertise for at least 30 days and carry a number of recruitment steps.  Annual reports will have to be submitted to the government.  The wages should be either the actual wage paid by the employer to other employees with similar experience or the prevailing wage, whichever is higher.

The W visa would not be available to positions which normally require a bachelor’s degree or higher, including some computer-related occupations.

Diversity Visa Lottery to be Eliminated in 2015

The diversity visa (green card) lottery will be eliminated in 2015.  Applicants/winners under the 2013 and 2014 lotteries will be processed.

Path to Citizenship to People without Authorization

The bill creates a path to citizenship to the 11 million or so people who are currently in the U.S. without authorization.  The bill creates a Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status.  To obtain an RPI status, a foreign national must have been in the US as of December 31, 2011 with continuous physical presence in the US, must pay a $500 penalty (except Dream Act youth), pay taxes and application fees (to be determined).  Ineligibility grounds include:  conviction for aggravated felony; conviction of felony; conviction of three or more misdemeanors; conviction of an offense under foreign law; unlawfully voting; and otherwise inadmissible due to health, security or moral grounds.

Immigrants who are granted RPI status and their spouses/children will obtain work and travel authorization.  The RPI status will be for a 6-year term, with the possibility of extension.  After an immigrant has been in RPI status for 10 years they can adjust to a permanent status under the merit-based system (described above) and assuming all existing immigrant visa backlogs have been cleared and after paying a $1,000 fine (and only after the borders have been secured, see below).

Border Control Strengthened and E-Verify Required for All Employers

The bill sets certain goals for securing the US borders and directs the Department of Homeland Security to implement certain measures to secure the border.  Beginning to implement such programs is a condition to the approval of RPI status to people who are in the US without authorization and there are certain benchmarks as conditions to allowing RPI holders to adjust and obtain lawful permanent status.

Additionally, the bill requires all employers to use the E-Verify system over a 5-year phase-in period.  Large employers with 5,000 or more employees will be required to start using E-Verify in two years.  Employers with more than 500 employees will have three years and all employers will have to start using E-Verify in four years.  E-Verify will have a photo-matching component requiring employers to match E-Verify system photo with the new hire and to ensure that this is the same person.

Finally, the new bill would create a better entry/exit tracking system at ports of entry to allow better tracking of foreign visitors who overstay their status in the U.S.

Important Note:  This is Just a Legislative Proposal and Not a Law Yet

It is important to underscore that this is a legislative proposal introduced by a number of U.S. Senators and not a law.  Only after an identical bill is passed by both the Senate and the House and signed by President Obama would the bill be enacted into law.   We expect that there would be a number of hearings, comments, amendment to this proposal over the next days and weeks and it is entirely possible that many of the provisions would change, some substantially.

Conclusion

We are very happy to be finally able to share some actual proposal for a comprehensive immigration reform.  We expect a lot of activity over the next days and week and we will monitor closely and report on any substantial developments on immigration reform.   Also, we will be conducting a series of live chats and webinars to discuss and analyze this proposal, in its current form and as it may be amended before it becomes law.   In the meantime, please feel free to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to obtain developments on this and related topics. If our office can be of any help, please feel free to contact us.

No comments

May 2013 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India Remains Unchanged at September 1, 2004; Significant Forward Movement in EB-3

The U.S. State Department has just released the May 2013 Visa Bulletin which is the eighth Visa Bulletin for the FY2013 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the lack of movement (again) in EB-2 India and the significant forward movement in the EB-3 category for most countries (with the exception of India and Philippines).

Summary of the May 2013 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)

Below is a summary of the May 2013 Visa Bulletin with respect to employment-based petitions:

  • EB-1 remains current across the board.
  • EB-2 for ROW, Mexico and Philippines are all current.    EB-2 India remains unchanged, again, at (the severely retrogressed) September 1, 2004.   EB-2 China moves forward by six (6) weeks to May 15, 2008.
  • EB-3 ROW and EB-3 Mexico move forward by five (5) months to December 1, 2007.  EB-3 Philippines moves forward by only one (1) week to September 15, 2006, EB-3 China  moves forward by a little over five (5)  months to December 1, 2007, while EB-3 India  moves forward by only two (2) weeks to December 22, 2002.
  • The “other worker” category moves forward by five (5) months for ROW and Mexico to December 1, 2007.  It moves forward by one (1) week to September 15, 2006 for Philippines and moves forward by one (1) week at September 1, 2003 for China.  It moves forward by two (2) weeks for India to December 22, 2002.

Summary of the May 2013 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

Below is a summary of the May 2013 Visa Bulletin with respect to family-based petitions:

  • FB-1 continues to move forward.  FB-1 ROW, China and India all move forward by three (3) weeks to April 1, 2006.   FB-1 Mexico moves forward by only one (1) week to August 8, 1993 and FB-1 Philippines moves forward by almost four (4) months to June 1, 1999.
  • FB-2A moves forward by two and a half (2.5) months to March 1, 2011  for ROW, China, India, and Philippines.  FB-2A Mexico moves forward by two (2) months to February 1, 2011.
  • FB-2B ROW, China and India all move forward by five (5) weeks to May 15, 2005.  FB-2B Mexico moves forward by nine (9) weeks to May 1, 1993 while FB-2B Philippines moves forward by seven (7) weeks to September 8, 2002.

Again: No Progress in EB-2 India – Confirms Our Expectations for a Very Slow Forward Movement in the Future?

Unfortunately, the May 2013 Visa Bulletin does not bring any news for us to report in connection with EB-2 India.   Yes, we realize we are repeating what we have been reporting over the past several months, but again this month the EB-2 India cutoff dates remain unchanged.     We are well into the second half of the fiscal year, and the continued lack of any movement in EB-2 India this month is a strong indication that there is simply too high of a demand in the EB-2 India category and that the Department of State would move the cutoff dates forward very slowly in order to allow USCIS to approve the (high) number of EB-2 cases filed and pending.

Significant Forward Movement in EB-3
The May 2013 Visa Bulletin brings some notable forward movement in the EB-3 category for most countries.    According to the State Department, this has been done in an attempt to generate demand so that the annual numerical limits may be fully utilized, and such movements may continue for the next few months.   Once the number of EB-3 filings increases to show that the available visa numbers for the year will  be utilized, the EB-3 forward movement would slow down or stop.
Further Updates and News

We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.  We also invite you to contact us if our office can be of any assistance in your immigration matters or you have any questions or comments about the May 2013 Visa Bulletin.  Finally, if you already haven’t, please consider our Visa Bulletin Predictions tool which provides personalized predictions and charts helping you understand when a particular priority date may become current and what are the movement patterns.

No comments

FY2014 H-1B Cap Update – 124,000 H-1B Cap Petitions Filed; Lottery Completed

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has just provided some updated numbers in connection with the 2014 fiscal year (FY2014) H-1B cap.      Many of our readers are aware that on Friday, April 5th, USCIS announced that they have received sufficient number of H-1B petitions to close the FY2014 H-1B cap as of Friday.    Today USCIS has announced that they have received a total of 124,000 H-1B petitions for both the regular and U.S. master’s degree caps.

Lottery Conducted on April 7th

On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of H-1B petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit.   This suggests that for many H-1B beneficiaries, the chances of being selected under the H-1B lottery are a little bit over 50% (U.S. master’s degree holders have slightly higher chance because they are part of two iterations of the lottery, if they are not successful in the initial U.S. master’s degree iteration of the lottery).

For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.

Post-Lottery Processing

Petitions which are selected under the lottery will be issued receipt notices and will be put in a processing queue.   Due to the heavy demand this year, we expect the H-1B processing times to be somewhat long.  Petitions filed under the premium processing service will start to be processed on April 15 and this is when the 15-day premium processing clock will begin.

Conclusion
We will continue providing updates on the FY2014 H-1B cap season, including filing statistics, as they become available.   In the meantime, please feel free to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to obtain developments on this and related topics. If our office can be of any help, please feel free to contact us.

No comments

Alert: FY2014 H-1B Cap Reached on April 5th

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced earlier this afternoon that they have received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the annual H-1B cap for the 2014 fiscal year (FY2014).    According to USCIS, they have received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for beneficiaries with U.S. master’s degree and more than the 65,000 general H-1B cap petitions.   As a result, any cap-subject H-1B petitions received by USCIS after April 5, 2013 will be rejected.

The Lottery Process

USCIS will use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received between April 1 and April 5, 2013.  The agency will conduct the selection process for advanced degree exemption petitions first.  All advanced degree petitions not selected will be part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit. Due to the high number of petitions received, USCIS is not yet able to announce the exact day of the random selection process.   Also, the total number of petitions received is not yet known due to the large volume of applications.

Petitions Not Selected under the Lottery Will Be Returned With Filing Fees

Petitions accepted for filing but not selected under the lottery will be returned to the petitioners together with the filing fees.

Post-Lottery Processing

Petitions which are selected under the lottery will be issued receipt notices and will be put in a processing queue.   Due to the heavy demand this year, we expect the H-1B processing times to be somewhat long.  Petitions filed under the premium processing service will start to be processed on April 15 and this is when the 15-day premium processing clock will begin.

H-1B Cap-Exempt Petitions Still Accepted

It should be noted that USCIS continues to accept cap-exempt H-1B petitions.   These are petitions generally filed by universities and non-profit research organizations (read more about cap-exempt employers).  Also, H-1B extensions and H-1B transfers are cap-exempt.

Conclusion

The FY2014 H-1B cap was reached, as anticipated during the first week it was open.   The reasons for the high H-1B demand this year may be caused by the improving economy.   Another reason may have been the self-fulfilling prediction by USCIS in March that they expect that the cap would be reached during the first week.

We will continue providing updates on the FY2014 H-1B cap season, including filing statistics, as they become available.   In the meantime, please feel free to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to obtain developments on this and related topics. If our office can be of any help, please feel free to contact us.

No comments