If You Run a Tech Company the 2014 H-1B Deadline Is Fast Approaching, Renewed Hope for Cap Increase

by Fred Abramson on February 13, 2013 · 0 comments

A H-1B is a type of visa that your company can use to sponsor a foreigner to work for you here in the good old U S of A.  If you are in the tech industry H-1B visas are coveted.

To obtain an H-IB visa, an Employer in the US  must apply for the H-1B on behalf of the the foreign H-1B employee through the Immigration Service. “Specialty occupation” means a position that requires specialized knowledge and skills, and at least a related bachelor’s degree in that specialty. The H-1B also requires that the H-1B employer pay the H-1B employee the same or higher wage than is paid to workers in similar occupations in the geographical area of the proposed employment.

According to the New York Times, Silicon Valley executives, who have long pressed the government to provide more visas for foreign-born math and science brains, are joining forces with an array of immigration groups seeking comprehensive changes in the law. And as momentum builds in Washington for a broad revamping, the tech industry has more hope than ever that it will finally achieve its goal: the expanded access to visas that it says is critical to its own continued growth and that of the economy as a whole.

The filing period for “new” H-1B visa petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (the “H-1B cap”) for FY (“Fiscal Year”) 2014 begins on April 1, 2013. To ensure timely receipt, petitions should be sent to USCIS on Friday, March 29, 2013. The hope is that an expansion to the cap will allow for more highly skilled workers to work in the US. Many argue that this will stimulate growth.

The annual limit for new H-1Bs is only 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visas available to H-1B applicants who possess a Master’s or higher degree from a U.S. academic institution. We have the best higher education system in the world. Students travel from all over to study in places like NYU and Columbia. Right now we are turning away many of these graduates.  These students possess skills in industries where the US simply does not have workers, such as tech and alternative energy.

Last month, I met a student from Indian at a tech meetup for start-ups in Brooklyn. He already created two apps and was working on his third. He told me that he is ready to hire employees, but he doesn’t think he can stay in the country because there was no path for a green card.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who is co-sponsoring the bill to increase the number of visas available for highly skilled immigrants, said:

“All the talk about the STEM field — science, technology, engineering, mathematics — has awakened even those who aren’t all that interested in the high-tech world,” he said.

Looks like the time is ripe for a rise in the number of H-1B visas that will be available in the future.

However, you must be prepared to get your paperwork together asap if you want to sponsor your intern for an H-1B visa now. In 2012, the annual FY-2013 limit for new H-1Bs was already reached on June 11, 2012. This year, we anticipate that the FY-2014 cap may be reached even faster as the economy appears to continue to improve. Therefore, it is vital that employers send out new H-1B petitions on March 29, 2013. Because an H-1B visa filing requires a certified Labor Condition Application, an online application that takes seven (7) days processing time with DOL, it is advisable to start the preparation of H-1B visas as soon as possible.

Please let me know if you have any questions pertaining to the H-1B petition filing procedures. I am here to help

The Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson practices both business and immigration law in New York. Feel free to call at 212-233-0666


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