The clock is ticking!
April 1, 2017 marks the first day that USCIS accepts H1B Cap petitions for the fiscal year 2018 that begins on October 1, 2017 and it will be here sooner than you realize.
Since employers can file H1B petitions no earlier than six months in advance of the anticipated start date as per the regulations, April 1 marks the beginning of the race for obtaining an H1B visa before the quota or “cap” is reached.
H1B Cap – What happened in the recent past?
1. FY 2017
The H1B Regular and Master’s Cap was filled within the first week of the filing period. USCIS conducted a lottery on April 9, 2016.
2. FY 2016
The H1B Regular and Master’s Cap was filled within the first week of the filing period. USCIS conducted a lottery on April 13, 2015.
3. FY 2015
The H1B Regular and Master’s Cap was filled within the first week of the filing period. USCIS conducted a lottery on April 10, 2014.
The above trend reiterates the urgent need to accurately prepare and file your H1B Cap 2018 petitions on April 1st.
VisaPro’s H1B Visa 2018 Timeline
To help you increase the chances of H1B petition lottery selection and approvals, here we present a step-by-step advice for H1B cap filings.
Step 1 – Early December
Identify your H1B needs, discuss strategy with your VisaPro immigration lawyer and finalize the list of applicants.
When looking to hire an individual who has previously received an H1B approval, it is important to determine whether this person has been previously counted towards the cap or not.
For example, if you are hiring someone who has worked for a university and thus may have qualified for cap-exemption, this person’s petition may need to be filed in the H1B cap as they may not be previously counted.
Step 2 – Early January
Have potential employees with foreign degrees gather and request required transcripts and experience letters (if necessary) in order to obtain foreign credential evaluation.
For any person who graduated from a non-U.S. institution of higher learning, it is important to obtain a degree equivalency evaluation that will be submitted with the H1B visa petition.
Degree evaluation services tend to be inundated with requests during the H1B season, hence, waiting until the last minute could seriously affect your ability to obtain the evaluation in a timely manner.
Step 3 – Early February
Develop detailed job descriptions; begin gathering supporting documentation.
DID YOU KNOW?
In FY 2017, USCIS received 236,000 H1B petitions during the first five business days of the filing period – the highest number of H1B cap filings ever. USCIS returned over 64% of filed H1B petitions.
Step 4 – Late February
Determine the prevailing wage and file the Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL).
Before employers can file H1B petition, they must first file for and obtain a certified Labor Condition Application from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Step 5 – Early March
Prepare all H1B Forms, Support Letter and other required supporting documentation.
Step 6 – March 31
Mail the petition to USCIS for delivery on April 1, 2017.
File H1B petitions for more than one qualified person to improve your company’s chances of getting selected in the lottery and get approved. It may be worth your investment to file for more individuals considering that you will not be able to hire new H1B foreign nationals until October 1, 2018 if you miss this year H1B Cap.
My Case Scenario
Kumar is a software engineer who is working pursuant to OPT for a company that develops software to track goods throughout the supply chain process. His company wants to keep him for the next several years and needs to get him an H1B. His current OPT ends in July, 2017.
The employer needs to get H1B petition filed timely so it can increase the chances of Kumar getting the H1B, and Kumar can take advantage of the Cap Gap rules which would allow him to continue working through the October 1st start date under H1B, despite the OPT expiring.
My Case Scenario
Martha has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and has been conducting research in a lab at a University in New York City while in H1B status. She has just been offered a research position in a pharmaceutical company that wants to build on her research and expertise. Martha already has an H1B so she doesn’t have to worry about the H1B Cap right?
Not necessarily – Martha was most likely not counted under the H1B cap because she is working for a university and in a position that would normally be cap-exempt. She will have to file H1B Cap petition timely to increase her chances of getting picked in the lottery and to be sure she gets October 1, 2017 start date.
The competition for the coveted and few H1B visas has been intensifying over the years and now companies must plan ahead to file the H1B Cap 2018 petitions in a timely manner.
VisaPro immigration attorneys helped clients’ secure 100% success with FY 2016 H1B Cap filings, i.e., 100% approval of all the selected petitions. This was possible with advanced planning and a unique strategy VisaPro methodically built for each candidate.
We like to help you integrate our success strategies into your FY 2018 H1B Cap filing. That’s why we’re offering a FREE FY 2018 H1B Filing Plan Consultation.
We’ll talk through your priorities and recommend strategies for April 2017 H1B filings based on our attorney’s prior success. Schedule A Free Consultation Today >>
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What VisaPro Customers Are Saying
Knowledgeable, fast, courteous, efficient are all words that describe the services I received from VisaPro. They were very helpful in all phases of the H-1B visa process and they got it right the first time. I have tried other Visa services, but VisaPro is the best by far. VisaPro is the only way to go!"