From time to time we like to post guest blogs from our colleagues with information that might be useful to our clients. The below post is from Melissa Harms, an immigration law attorney based in Marin. Melissa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or inquiries.
The FY2014 H-1B cap filing period will open 04/01/2013 (for a 10/01/2013 start date). The H-1B, “specialty occupation” visa is the most commonly used visa for employment purposes. To qualify for an H-1B visa, the position must require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. To approve an H-1B application, the USCIS requires the position to require a Bachelor’s level degree (or the equivalent) in a specialized field and the foreign national to possess a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in this field.
As you may know, there is a limited number of H-1B slots each year (known as the H-1B quota). Currently, there are 65,000 slots afforded to foreign nationals with a Bachelor's degree or higher and 20,000 afforded to U.S. Master's degree holders. In prior years, the quota was reached within days of April 1. Last year, the quota remained open from April 1, 2012 until June 11, 2012. There is no telling what will occur this year as the results are often unpredictable but it is anticipated that the cap will be reached within a month or less. Accordingly, we plan to file all H-1B petitions on March 29, 2013 for an April 1, 2013 arrival at the immigration service. This leaves under 3 months to prepare these petitions. Please contact our office as soon as possible if you'd like to file an H-1B petition under this year's cap. We would be pleased to assist you with this process.