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Beginning April 1, 2008, employers can file new H-1B temporary worker petitions for foreign nationals requesting an employment start date on or after October 1, 2008. It is expected that the H-1B cap of 85,000 new visas for fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008, through September 30, 2009) will once again be reached on the first day of filing. Even new H-1B visas for applicants with an advanced degree from a U.S. college or university are expected to be reached on the first date of filing. With this in mind, it is critical to begin the preparation of any H-1B filings now! We advise employers who expect to file under the FY2009 cap to start finalizing job offers immediately. If you are considering the hiring of a foreign worker who will need H-1B sponsorship, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible to review your hiring plans.

Once the H cap is reached, employers will not be able to obtain new H-1Bs until October 1, 2009. The 85,000 H-1B cap only applies to new H-1B cases, and not to extensions of H-1B status or 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 H cap based on employment with a university or nonprofit or governmental research organization.

Please contact us immediately if you are considering the hiring of a foreign worker who will need H-1B sponsorship or if you have any questions about the impact the H-1 cap might have on your hiring of foreign nationals.