Do your corporate clients have plans to hire foreign nationals? Or perhaps they have international students working for them as interns? Employers that want to hire foreign workers for technical or other specialized professional positions in the next 12–18 months should identify those cases now (December 2012). This may include foreign-born interns or students who will be graduating in May 2013. In general, the most common professional worker visa is the H-1B visa. Congress has established a limit of H-1B visas at 65,000 a year, with an additional 20,000 visas set aside for beneficiaries with U.S. master’s degrees. This limitation is commonly called the “H-1B cap.” Nearly all U.S. employers are subject to the cap. The cap has already been reached for this fiscal year, which ends in September 2013. The next fiscal year begins October 1, 2013; however, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will begin accepting new H-1B visa petitions for the next fiscal year on April 1, 2013. Employers should identify potential cases now so they are ready to file on the first day – April 1. In 2011, the cap was reached in seven months. This year the cap was reached after ten weeks. Next year the cap may be reached on the first day! For more information on H-1B visas and the cap, visit: www.dol.gov/whd/immigration/h1b.htm or www.uscis.gov.
Stefan Johansson and Robert Webber
Webber Law Firm, LLC