The H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa allows companies to sponsor foreign national workers for jobs that normally require at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a specific field. The H-1B work visa is the most sought-after visa type in the U.S. and, as such, is subject to an annual quota – with only 65,000 H-1Bs visas available per year and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas reserved for individuals who hold a U.S. master’s degree. Each year, companies rush to file H-1Bs for their foreign national workers who are employed in positions where it is hard to find a U.S. worker to fill those roles (i.e. STEM fields).
In past years, the earliest date a company could have filed an H-1B was on April 1 of the fiscal year, and the five immediate business days after April 1. During this time, the government accepted all of the H-1B petitions that were filed during the period and randomly (through a lottery) selected 65,000 H-1Bs and 20,000 master’s degree H-1Bs to apply to the annual quota. As a matter of perspective, there are approximately 250,000 H-1B applications filed each year.
Recently, the U.S. government announced that for 2020, they will implement a pre-registration process. Before an H-1B petition can be filed, employers must pay a $10 registration fee for each petition the employer seeks to file. At that point, the government will apply a random selection process during the registration period and select which petitions may proceed to filing during a 90-day time frame post-registration. This new registration process was put in place to help streamline the number of petitions submitted each year and will take place from March 1, 2020, to March 20, 2020.
Still, regardless of the implementation of this new registration process, H-1B petitions and filings must be prepared in advance to ensure the avoidance of unnecessary delays. The collection of documentation and planning for these filings are taking place now.
If you have an H-1B visa candidate, please contact your Jackson Walker attorney for additional details.
Sang Shin is an experienced immigration attorney with a demonstrated history of successfully representing clients in their immigration matters. Sang advises clients through various immigration applications, including but not limited to: L-1, H-1B, TN, B-1/B-2, B-1 in lieu of H-1B, B-1 OCS, F-1, E-2, E-3, O-1, EADs, Advance Parole as well as PERM Labor Certification, I-140 Immigrant Petitions in the EB1, EB2 and EB3 categories along with Adjustment of Status and Naturalization. Sang’s extensive background working with clients on their immigration matters allows him to assist clients in all aspects of labor and employment-based visas, investment-related visas, naturalization, permanent residence processes, and immigration compliance.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.