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2015 H-1B Visa Cap

Employers and H-1B applicants are highly advised to start planning for H-1B cases that will be subject to the 2015 cap. The USCIS will start accepting petitions on April 1, 2014. This may seem like a substantial amount of time, however, the H-1B petition process requires detailed documentation and evidence.

Overview

As our readers know, the H-1B cap enforces a limitation of 65,000 H-1B visas available each year. There is also an additional pool of 20,000 visas designated for advanced degree holders and 6,800 visas for Chile and Singapore Free Trade filings. The USCIS only accepts H1B petitions for a total of five business days. If the cap has not been met within the five business days, the USCIS will continue to accept petitions until the cap is reached. However in recent years, the USCIS has received an exceeding amount of petitions within the five business days. H1B cap for 2014 was met on April 5, 2013, within 5 days of the start of the cap season. If the USCIS receives an excess amount a H1B Lottery is conducted. The USCIS gathers the petitions that were received after the 65,000 H1B limit and selects the petitions at random.

Cap Exempt Petitioners

There are some H1B petitions that are not subject to the 65,000 cap:

  • Amended H1B Petition
  • H1B Renewal & Extension
  • H1B Transfer (Change of Employer)
  • The foreign national has been granted legal H1B status for the past 6 years.
  • The employer is a college or university
  • The employer is a nonprofit research organization
  • The employer is a governmental research organization
  • The employer is a nonprofit affiliate of a institution of higher education.

Preparing for H1B Visa Cap

If you are subject to the cap and wish to avoid any potential H1B filing delays, it is best to get started on the H1B 2015 petition now.  H1B applicants should begin preparing by acquiring a good and reliable sponsor. There are some sponsors who wish to test the candidate’s experience in the field before actual hire. Once the foreign national has received a sponsor, it is important to maintain a relationship with the employer. If any problems arise, then the H1B applicant can address the issues immediately.

Moreover, H1B petitions require Labor Condition Application (LCA) certification by the Department of Labor (DOL). Although DOL regulations allow for up to seven working days to certify an LCA, it’s not uncommon for the LCA certification to take much longer than that.

Employers are also greatly suggested to start planning for the H1B 2015 visa. It is best for the employers to decide the number of new employees needed for fiscal year 2014-15. From there, employers can determine which specific employees are subject to the H1B cap and plan accordingly.

H1B Filing Costs

The filing fees for the H1B 2015 visa can be costly. Filing fee costs can range from $1,575-$4,325. This will depend on the amount of employees the company holds. H1B petitioners are also capable of filing under Premium Processing. Premium Processing requests a faster processing time for the applicant’s petition. This type of processing costs $1225.

Conclusion

It is highly recommended that the applicants and employers start the H1B 2015 visa filing process now. There are several steps that need to be completed before submitting the H1B petition to the USCIS, such as LCA certification by the DoL. The strong likelihood of an H1B visa lottery for FY 2014-2015 cap season leaves little room for error. Our immigration lawyers are able to develop a detailed analysis of the possible strategies and suggestions best suited for your petition. If you have any questions please contact SGM Law Group.