The H-1B visa is a temporary professional work visa whereby the occupation must qualify as a specialty occupation (and the individual must have the required education). Essentially, the position must require a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in a specific or related area, and the individual in question must have said degree (and/or relevant experience). Furthermore, the employer must commit to pay the prevailing wage as determined by the Department of Labor (DOL).
At the present time there are no H-1B visas available (the cap was reached in the first week of April last year), so the next date that an employer would be able to file on an individual's behalf would be April 1, 2018 for a start date of October 1, 2018. It takes some time to process the paperwork and receive the prevailing wage determination from the DOL and it is highly likely that all H-1B numbers will be taken in the first days of filing so a lottery system will take effect. It is important that you take the appropriate steps in a timely manner to make sure all the necessary paperwork is processed and organized ahead of the start of the H-1B Lottery on April 1.
What is the Lottery and why is April 1 important? One major issue with the H-1B visas is that there is an annual cap on the number of H-1Bs given out every year. There are 65,000 H-1Bs give out each year plus an additional 20,000 for those who received a Master’s degree or higher from a US institution of higher education. The “US Government fiscal year” for USICS runs from October 1 to September 30. However USCIS does allow you to file for an H-1B up to six months in advance of the start date. This means people can file for the H-1B on April 1 for an October 1 start date. Generally, all H-1Bs are used before the end of the first week of April in any given year so the timing of filing for the H-1B is of great importance. There are certain institutions that are exempt from this cap and we can help determine if you work for such an entity.
The H-1B visa process can be complex, and it is therefore important that you fully understand the issues involved. We help both employers and employees through all these areas, including prevailing wage issues as well as skill levels and the compilation, organization and structuring of all necessary evidence and documentation to be able to present a strong case to USCIS. Please contact us so we can discuss how to best process and file your application.