Upcoming Deadline for H-1B Applications


By: Nina Maja Bergmar
If your company is looking to a hire a foreign national at some point during the 2016 fiscal year, be aware that the deadline for submitting H-1B visa petitions is quickly approaching.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting applications on April 1, 2015, for H-1B visas effective starting October 1, 2015. Under the current cap system, the USCIS allots a mere 65,000 visas per year for applicants with a Bachelor’s degree and 20,000 additional visas for applicants with advanced degrees.[1]
Last year, the USCIS announced on April 7 that it had received approximately 172,500 applications within the first 6 days of the filing period—more than twice the number of visas available under the cap. The USCIS thus performed a computer-generated process to randomly select 85,000 visas, which it then proceeded to review. All other applications were rejected outright.
This year, the USCIS is likely to receive at least as many applications as last year. It is therefore crucial that any employer who has identified a foreign national whom it wishes to hire in a specialty occupation take preparatory steps and/or seek legal assistance at its earliest convenience.


[1] On January 14, 2015, Republican and Democratic senators introduced a bill that would increase the H-1B Visa cap to 115,000 and allow a further increase of up to 195,000 visas depending on actual market demand. While analysts say the proposal is likely to pass both houses, employers are unlikely to see any changes in the caps during this year’s H-1B cycle.