Q. I have heard that immigration authorities started accepting H-1B petitions from U.S. Companies in April to hire professionals in specialty occupation positions, such as engineers, computer systems analysts, financial analysts, and allied healthcare professionals, to name a few. In past years there were shortages of H-1B visas since they are subject to an annual quota, but usage was down during the Recession. Now that the economy is recovering, should our business be concerned about potential shortages in this widely used visa category?
by (author unknown) on April 30, 2012A.
The H-1B visa classification is for temporary employment of foreign professionals in specialty occupations, including but not limited to, information technology professionals, business analysts, financial managers, engineers, architects, and allied health professionals such as physical therapists, as well as fashion models. There is a limit on the number of H-1B visa petitions issued each year.
There is a yearly statutory cap of 65,000 H-1B approved petitions for the general category, of which 6,800 are reserved for Chile and Singapore Free Trade H-1B visas, resulting in only 58,200 for all other nationalities. There is an additional quota of 20,000 for foreign professionals with advanced degrees (master’s degrees or higher) from U.S. institutions. Exemptions from the annual quota cap may apply in certain instances.
April 2, 2012, marked the first day the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) began accepting H-1B visa petitions for fiscal year 2013, which begins October 1, 2012.
As of June 11, the USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the annual 65,000 quota cap for FY 2013.
As of June 7, 2012, the USCIS also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.
Employers who wish to hire nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations should carefully analyze the options available to them as soon as possible.
Read recent bulletins issued on the topic:
- Monitoring H-1B visa petitions: USCIS continues to accept fiscal year 2013 H-1B petitions (April 16, 2012).
- H-1B visa petitions for nonimmigrant workers accepted April 1 until quota met (February 22, 2012).
For more information see USCIS’s link on the H-1B visa program.
This post is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this information.