Employers are reminded that, beginning April 1, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting new H-1B temporary worker petitions for foreign nationals requesting an employment start date on or after October 1, 2013.
For fiscal year 2013 (FY13), the H-1B cap was reached on June 11, 2012, just two months from the first date petitions were accepted for processing. This cap included the 20,000 H-1B numbers reserved for foreign nationals possessing an advanced degree from a U.S. college or university. We expect that the H-1B cap will be met even sooner for fiscal year 2014 (FY14), so employers are encouraged to start carefully considering their hiring needs for the coming year.
Once the H-1B cap is reached, employers will not be able to obtain new H-1Bs until October 1, 2014. In addition, if employers have foreign national students working under Optional Practical Training (OPT), which will expire before October 1, 2013, the filing of an H-1B petition may be critical to extending their ability to work.
If you are considering the hiring of a foreign worker who will need H-1B sponsorship, please contact any of our immigration attorneys immediately to review your hiring plans. It is important to remember that the cap applies only to new H-1B cases and not to extensions of H-1B status or to a transfer of an H-1B visa from one employer to another. The cap does, however, affect those foreign nationals who are in H-1B status seeking to work for new employers but who are currently exempt from the cap based on employment with a university or not-for-profit or governmental research organization.