Getting one of the limited H1B’s released by USCIS each year is always a competitive process, but this year competitive is a massive understatement.
The April 1st deadline for the 2014 H1B Cap season is approaching rapidly, and if you are one of the thousands of individuals interested in receiving H1B status in 2014, then you should be aware of the foreboding speculations recently released by USCIS.
According to an official, publicized announcement last updated 3/15/2013, USCIS is anticipating on receiving more than the 65,000 petitions for the H-1B Regular Cap and over 20,000 petitions for the H-1B Master’s Exemption. This unprecedented influx of H1B petitions has not been seen since 2008. For the 2008 H1B Cap season, all 85,000 available H1Bs were approved by April 3rd, meaning; all 85,000 available H1Bs gone within two days. Unfortunately for all those seeking an H1B in 2014, USCIS predicts that like in the 2008 season, the H1B cap could be met within 5 days of the filing season.
This situation is far more than exclamatory presumptions made by an over panicked department of immigration. Rather, due to employment trends in the United States, the H1B employee is more valuable than ever. The demand for talent in the U.S. is high and the amount of available H1Bs seems scarce in comparison. A brief examination of the past two years shows a trend of the H1B cap being reached sooner and sooner:
- FY 2012 H1B cap reached by November 22, 2011 – 328 days
- FY 2013 H1B cap reached by June 11, 2012 – 161 days
The 2012 H1B cap was reached 167 days (45%) sooner than in 2013, and it looks like the 2014 H1B cap will be reached even sooner. With this type of mass submission a valid question could be how the USCIS plans on handling the tidal wave of petitions. As stated by USCIS, “This could be the first time since April 2008 that the H1B – cap will require a lottery”.
A lottery is not the only adjustment USCIS will be making this year. To address the combination of unmanageably high premium process receipt levels and H1B applications, USCIS will alter its premium processing practices temporarily. New practice guidelines state that premium-processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions for individuals who hold a U.S. Master’s degree or higher and are seeking exemptions from the fiscal year cap, will being April 15, 2013.
Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, fee, and Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, will be accepted during the period that Premium Processing is not available (April 1 – April 14, 2013). Once receipt notice is issued, petitioners may upgrade H1B cap petition to Premium Processing, these requests will be adjudicated upon the April 15, 2013 Premium Processing Start date.
It is easy to see that like most H1B seasons, this year’s will be no less stressful or hectic. With the myriad of able candidates applying for H1B status for 2014, timely mailing and proper filing is essential in order to avoid careless errors.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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