February 7, 2017.
ADHIKARI LAW suggests H-1B petitioners to keep in mind that USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions on April 1, 2017 for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 H-1B quota cases. If the petition is approved the H-1B beneficiary can start working on October 1, 2017 or earlier if he/she is eligible for H-1B cap-gap. It is very important to start the H-1B sponsorship process as soon as possible to make sure all the petitions are timely filed.
FY 2018 H-1B Cap and Cap Amounts
Last year, USCIS received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for FY 2017 in first week of April, 2016. After the numerical cap is reached, USCIS will reject petitions subject to the H-1B. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000, and out this up to 6,800 visas are set aside each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B specialty occupation workers for the next fiscal year.
There is a high likelihood that the FY 2018 H-1B quota might be reached much earlier than last year. It should be noted that in the past the numerical quota was reached in a short period of time, sometimes within a week.
Therefore, it is better to plan everything in advance so that all H-1B petition will be filed in a timely manner.
Most importantly, USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions that are not subject to annual numerical limitations, (e.g. H-1B amended petitions, H-1B extensions for individuals who have already been counted against the cap within the last six years, etc.), DOD petitions and Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2018.
Please note the following tips to ensure that your petition is filed timely:
- Get all supporting documents ready (letters of support, end-client letter, necessary fees, etc.).
- Before filing the H-B petition the employer has to receive a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). It typically takes about seven business days for the DOL to certify an LCA, so the LCA should also be filed as soon as possible.
- Evidence of Beneficiary’s Educational Qualifications:
- A copy of beneficiary’s final transcripts. Petition has to include evidence of the beneficiary’s educational degree at the time of filing. If all of the requirements for the degree have been met, but the degree has not yet been awarded, the following alternate evidence may be submitted:
- A copy of the beneficiary’s transcript and a letter from the Registrar confirming that all of the degree requirements have been met (if the educational institution does not have a Registrar, such letter must be signed by the person in charge of the educational records where the degree will be awarded)
- If you are indicating that the beneficiary is qualified based on a combination of education and experience, we would have to include substantiating evidence to show that.
- If the benefciary has a foreign academic degree and professional experience letters then we may need to obtain a credential evaluation, a process that can also take a few days