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New Year, New H-1B Filing Process

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This H-1B filing season, many employers will need to prepare a little differently than in past years. Throughout January, February, and March, H-1B petitioners will begin assembling thousands of H-1B visa petitions for filing on April 2nd, the first available filing date for the FY2019 cap season since April 1st falls on a Sunday this year. The H-1B visa is available to professionals coming to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation (i.e., a postion requiring a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent). 
There are 85,000 H-1B visas available, with 20,000 reserved for individuals possessing a U.S. Master’s degree or higher. This limited annual quota is known as the H-1B cap, and each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives enough petitions to fill the cap (typically in excess of 150,000+) within the first week of filing. The USCIS then conducts a lottery on received petitions to randomly select the cases to fill the cap. If a petition is selected in the lottery and approved, the employer’s foreign worker will receive a 3-year H-1B visa, which will be renewable for an additional 3 years. The H-1B visa also allows for dual-intent, which means the employer can sponsor its foreign worker for permanent residency (i.e., a green card) to permit long-term U.S. employment.
The H-1B visa has long been a dependable way for employers to bring foreign talent into the U.S. Other than the limited cap numbers, the process has been relatively straightforward in recent years. However, in March and April 2017, the issuance of the USCIS Policy Memorandum, “Rescission of the December 22, 2000 ‘Guidance memo on H1B computer related positions,’” and the Executive Order, “Buy American and Hire American,” caused a shift in H-1B review at USCIS. Many Requests for Evidence (RFEs) were issued questioning the prevailing wage level selected by employers, as well as whether the offered position qualifies as a specialty occupation for H-1B purposes. 
GoffWilson has been successful in overcoming these wage level and specialty occupation H-1B RFEs, and we are working with employers to assemble more substantial and comprehensive petitions for the upcoming cap season. We recommend starting your H-1B petitions sooner rather than later to allow plenty of time for gathering the supporting documentation necessary to achieve success. Complete H-1B petition packages include the required USCIS forms and filing fees, a Labor Condition Application (LCA), information surrounding the employer and the offered position, and documentation regarding the employee.  
Looking for assistance with your company’s H-1B petitions? GoffWilson is here to help! We have assisted thousands of employers and employees with their immigration matters. Contact us today for more information.
Filed under:H-1B Visa, Immigration Law