The H-1B filing period for FY2016 is quickly approaching. On April 1, 2015, the immigration service (USCIS) will begin accepting petitions for a start date of no earlier than October 1, 2015.
It is never a good idea to wait until late into March to start getting petitions ready to file. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) processing time alone for the Labor Condition Application (LCA), while required to be within 7 days, typically lengthens as the volume increases in February and March. And USCIS will reject any H-1B petition that is submitted without a certified LCA. Additionally, if the petitioner is a new company, the DOL must verify the company’s FEIN before certifying the LCA, which can add several days to the processing.
The demand for new H-1B visas is expected to be heavy again this year. For FY2015, USCIS received approximately 172,500 petitions toward the allotment of 65,000 cap-subject and 20,000 advanced degree exempt H-1B visas. There is no expectation that Congress will increase the numbers of H-1B visas for FY2016.
So, as has been the practice over the past few years, we expect USCIS to accept all H-1B petitions properly filed and received the first business week of April, and then conduct a random lottery. Lottery selection should be completed by early May, and USCIS will start processing the lucky petitions shortly after that. Once approved, the foreign national will be allowed to take up employment in H-1B status no earlier than October 1, 2015.
As always, the immigration professionals at SGR are ready and available to address any questions or concerns you may have about the H-1B process, and assist you expertly and efficiently to maximize the chances of grabbing one of those coveted H-1B visas.