How to Prepare for the 2018 H-1B Cap
After the first year of the Trump Administration, few aspects of national immigration policy remain untouched, including the H-1B process. Even as reform talks are ongoing, thanks to the overwhelming support of the nation’s business sectors, H-1B visas will remain a viable option for bringing qualified foreign national employees to the United States. Employers who wish to obtain H-1B visa status for foreign national employees this year should begin the process now.
In our offices, the national business immigration headlines play out every day. We have seen dramatic increases in request for evidence for even the most routine visa applications. Pre-planning, now, more than ever, is required to ensure that you have identified employees who will help your organization meet its goals and that the roles offered to these employees will qualify for an H-1B visa.
High Demand for H-1B Visas
Despite the news and the challenges, we anticipate H-1B visas will again be in high demand from U.S. employers. At the same time, the numbers available continue to remain low (65,000 plus an additional 20,000 for individuals holding a U.S.-based Master’s Degree). As such, we anticipate another “lottery” for the available H-1Bs. This means employers must submit all H-1B petitions for delivery with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on April 2 (note that the H-1B status will have a start date of Oct. 1, the beginning of the new government fiscal year).
Now is a good time to identify those employees who require H-1B sponsorship. These may be recent graduates working with you on an Optional Practical Training EAD card, employees on other visa classifications that may be expiring or that do not support a Green Card Process as formally as an H-1B visa (TN, E-1, E-2, O-1), or candidates residing abroad or working with a foreign affiliate who require an H-1B visa to work in the U.S.
Know Your H-1B Basics
Once the potential employee or employees are identified, make time to ensure all you have satisfied requirements of the application process and your paperwork is in order, including:
- A Labor Condition Application posted at the employee’s work location for 10 days in order to affirm you will pay the appropriate wage, provide similar working conditions, that there is no strike or lockout, and that you provided notice of your intent to hire an H-1B worker
- Once the LCA is posted, file the LCA with the US Department of Labor
- Prepared and filed Form I-129, the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with attached H Supplement
- A DOL-certified LCA
- H-1B supporting documentation from the employer and the Beneficiary
We’re here to assist you with submitting your H-1B petition requests and encourage you to initiate these cases as soon as possible in order to get them into the filing queue. Please contact FordMurray with any questions about this process, or other business immigration concerns.