Tuesday, March 18, 2014

H-1B Visa Update

Do not delay in preparing your H-1B visa applications as the demand is great, and it is likely that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) will receive more applications than there are available visas during the first week of April, 2014. There is a cap on the number of H-1B visas available: 65,000 for those applicants holding the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor's degree and an additional 20,000 visas available for foreign nationals with a U.S. Master's degree or higher. In the past several years, the CIS has conducted a lottery to determine which applicants would be eligible for an H-1B visa due to the great demand.

It is recommended that employers file on or about April 1, 2014, to secure a slot for employment beginning October 1, 2014. Companies employing students on OPT (Optional Practical Training) with work visas expiring in the months between April and September, 2014, may have the opportunity to extend the work of students until October 1 with a timely H-1B visa application filing.

It is important for companies to carefully prepare their applications as the CIS has increased its scrutiny and regularly requests additional evidence from employers. Employers need to work with counsel to develop detailed explanations about why the employee qualifies for this visa.

For more information about H-1B visas and other immigration matters, please contact Joel Pfeffer or Elaina Smiley.

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