All employers who want to endorse H-1B employees during Fiscal Year 2016 may start submitting applications on April 1, 2015 for an initiation date on October 1, 2015. An H-1B visa is utilized by companies that want to hire foreign nationals with specialized occupational skills alongside theoretical and technical proficiencies. On the 2016 H-1B visa start date, cases will be marked as accepted on the day that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) first receives the petition instead of the postmarked date.

Annual H-1B Cap

For H-1B petitions, there is a yearly maximum of 65,000 total visas made available. An extra 20,000 visas are exclusively reserved for persons with a U.S. master’s degree or above. During the 2014 H-1B season, over 170,000 applications were submitted to USCIS, and the 2016 H-1B predictions are that USCIS is expected to receive an even larger figure. Petitions were accepted by USCIS for the year’s first five business days. At this point, they officially declared that they had already acquired a sufficient amount of applications to close the cap. As a result, we insist that all workers should file this year’s H-1B petitions on March 31, 2015, which is a Tuesday. USCIS will once again only be accepting petitions during the initial five business days of the year, and the chance to file will expire April 7, 2015.

H-1B Lottery System

In the case that USCIS receives an overabundance of petitions that exceeds their standard and advanced degree quotas during the initial five filing season days, a randomized lottery will be conducted via computer to select which cases are processed. The first lottery is conducted to reach the maximum of 20,000 for highly trained workers that are cap-exempt. Once the advanced-degree selection is finished, all leftover cases are placed within a secondary lottery that picks enough petitions to max out at the 65,000 limit. Please note that this was the scenario last year.

Required Steps in the Process

If an employer wishes to qualify for an H-1B filing, they must first possess a validated Labor Condition Application (LCA) directly from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Right now, the DOL requires 7 days to finalize an LCA; however, legal rules allow the DOL a maximum of 7 working days, which equates to 10 total days. Furthermore, if your business has not legally filed LCA forms since 2008, there is a significant possibility that your registration with the DOL may no longer exist. As a consequence, we mandate that your company be registered first; overall, this process adds about 3 business days. Additionally, in prior years, extremely high online traffic shut down servers for the Internet LCA system in March’s last week, and online operations moved very slowly. To stave off technological delays, early filings are vitally essential.

Important H-1B Filing Dates

Even more importantly, any potential H-1B employee that lacks a U.S. college degree must attain an equivalency diploma. The tests must be administered by a trusted company that specializes in evaluating credentials. Even though most businesses provide 24-hour return rates at this juncture on the calendar, this cannot be guaranteed near H-1B filing cap deadlines due to massive demand. Below is an overview of advised filing dates compared with the latest possible deadlines.

File Labor Condition Application (LCA):

Advised Filing Date – 3/20/2015

Final Acceptance Date – 3/31/2015

It is crucial to account for an extra three working days in case the company is not currently in the Department of Labor’s system.

File Petition with USICS:

Advised Filing Date – 3/31/2015

Final Acceptance Date – 4/6/2015

Again, accounting for an additional 3 business days is critical if the business has not completed registration with the Department of Labor.

Important Facts about the LCA

A lot of work needs to be completed ahead of time if one wants to file an H-1B by the start of April, 2015, especially if the case is subjected to a cap. One vital part of the process comes in the form of a Labor Condition Application (LCA). Every H-1B filing must be joined with an accompanying LCA that is fully reviewed and validated by the Department of Labor. It may take up to seven working days for the DOL to adjudicate an LCA. Furthermore, a timeline at the DOL does not start until a completed LCA is submitted. The form must contain all necessary data pertaining to the position and employer. If this is the first time an employer has filed an H-1B, they should expect an extra three to five days of processing. In effect, an employer’s federal tax ID (FEIN) must be on record within the DOL database for the LCA to be approved; otherwise, the LCA cannot be accepted.

An Immigration Attorney Can Help this Process!

Keeping up with the crucial filing dates in 2015 mandates a professional H-1B visa attorney that has the knowledge and experience to handle all matters related to an H-1B visa filing. These experts can also answer all of the Frequently Asked H-1B Questions. To find out more ways that the Pride Immigration Law Firm PLLC can assist you with tendering a perfected H-1B and LCA, contact us online right away, or give us a call today!

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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