The window for filing H-1B petitions for FY2014 will likely end quickly this year as increased demand and availability of the H-1B visa has left many employers in recent years scrambling.
The filing date for FY2014 opens Aprils 1, 2013, and if demand is as high as last year’s (which reached capacity after only two months), employers may miss their opportunity to meet their hiring needs and may have to file either next year or take their chances on a lottery – if one is offered this year.
H1-B visas are generally capped at 65,000 (excluding Master’s degree petitions), barring any exempt status, and apply to individuals in specialty occupations which require a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and theoretical or practical application of highly specialized knowledge in fields such as medicine and health, technology, law, science, and others.
In addition, exemptions from the cap include free trade agreement qualifying citizens (from Chile and Singapore), employees working for non-profits or higher education institutions, government research organizations, and beneficiaries who have held H-1B status in the last six years.
If you are an employer, first determine whether you have any F-1 orJ-1 employees taking advantage of their Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment Authorization, any free trade professionals, or individuals on O visas. Then find out if any are eligible or require their current status changed.