The H-1B visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to sponsor professional foreign national employees to work in the United States for their company.  April 1, 2014 is an important deadline to keep in mind if your company is considering sponsoring a foreign national worker for an H-1B visa.

By law, the number of H-1B visas is “capped,” meaning that each year, the Immigration Service can only issue a certain number of visas. Annually, H-1B visas are capped at 65,000 visas, with an additional 20,000 available for foreign nationals who hold U.S. Master’s degrees. The nation’s demand for these H-1B visas far exceeds the number of visas available.

April 1, 2014 is the first day that U.S. employers can submit their H-1B visa petitions to Immigration. Employers should submit an H-1B petition for their anticipated foreign worker on April 1st, 2014 in order to competitively apply. The available H-1B visas numbers are very low, and typically the capped number of visas runs out almost as soon as the petition window of April 1st opens up. For example, last year all H-1B visa numbers were used up within the first week of April. If the H-1B visa numbers are not used within the first week, these visas are only available until the visa cap number is reached. Below are some tips for U.S employers and foreign national candidates who are considering the H-1B visa as a visa option.

What are the two most important basic steps to take if you are a U.S. employer wishing to sponsor a foreign national for an H-1B Visa?

1. Talk to the foreign national: Now is the time to solidify your company’s future plans and goals with your foreign national employee or job candidate. Extend employment offers and establish where each foreign national is in their immigration process.

2. Talk to an immigration attorney as soon as possible: The H-1B visa process is complicated, and there are many moving pieces. H-1B visa petitions take time to prepare. Employers will need to file paperwork with the Department of Labor, which takes up to seven working days to process, and then file the petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An immigration attorney has the experience and knowledge to coordinate these pieces for you and efficiently meet the April 1st deadline.

What are the two most important basic steps to take if you are a foreign national with a U.S. employer and you need sponsorship?

1. Talk to your employer: Reach out to your boss or Human Resources to discuss your employment goals and your employer’s plans for your professional development in their company. Some employers may not be aware of the April 1st deadline for new H-1B petitions, or may need reminding about your immigration situation.

2. Talk to an immigration attorney as soon as possible: The H-1B visa is a great option, and for some foreign nationals, this may be your only option.  However the H-1B is limited to those who have a U.S. employer sponsor who is offering a specialty occupation position.  Some foreign nationals may have alternate immigration visa options besides the H-1B visa. If you are unsure of your visa options or need to plan for the future, consulting with an immigration attorney may provide you with a professional assessment of your visa options.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is not intended to serve as legal advice. The information you obtain from this site is general information, and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting or posting here does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to Starzyk Law PLLC until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Disclaimer: This is an advertisement. The information you obtain from this website is general information, and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We welcome your calls, letters and e-mails. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to Starzyk Law PLLC until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.