USCIS will start accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2013 cap on April 1, 2012. Cases will be considered accepted on the date USCIS receives a properly filed petition for which the correct fee has been submitted; not the date that the petition is postmarked. We recommend that employers/employee prepare to file H-1B petitions on March 30, 2012 to ensure that the petitions are received by USCIS on April 1, 2012.
Our office has already started accepting requests to file H-1B petitions. Employers/Employees should keep in mind the following in considering and preparing to timely file an H1B visa application by April 1, 2012:
- H1B Quota: The cap (the numerical limit on H-1B petitions) for FY 2012 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt. In addition to petitions filed on behalf of people with U.S. master’s degrees or higher, certain other petitions are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at Institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities; Nonprofit research organizations; or Governmental research organizations. Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who will work only in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands are exempt from the cap until Dec. 31, 2014. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap do not count towards the H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to process petitions filed to Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States; Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers; Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
- Labor Condition Application (LCA): Each application requires a labor condition application (LCA) to be filed and certified with the department of labor via the iCERT Portal. The LCA certification takes up to 7 days and longer for new employers who are using the iCERT Portal for the first time as new employers will be subject to the “business verification” process. The business verification process requires the department of labor to verify the FEIN number of the new employer before registration with the iCERT Portal will be approved. New employers who have never used the iCERT Portal should therefore be aware that the LCA certification process can take longer than the usual 7 day period and prepare to file the LCA as soon as possible to ensure the LCA certification is ready by the April 1 filing date.
- Academic Degree Evaluations: For foreign employees who holds foreign degrees should work with an immigration attorney to obtain an academic degree evaluation as soon as possible to ensure that s/he does have the minimum educational degree of a four year bachelors degree (or equivalent) so that s/he is in fact eligible to file an H1B visa by April 1.
Contact Our Office Today to Discuss Your Eligibility for an H1B Visa. Email us for a free case review at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us toll free at 800.993.90907.