- Thursday, January 25, 2018
The Immigration Group at Ryan Swanson advises employers to start early preparation of H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota or cap for the 2019 fiscal year. Based on prior years, it is anticipated that USCIS will start accepting H-1B cap-subject petitions on Monday, April 2, 2018, for at least five business days, until April 6, 2018.
Congress has imposed an annual limit of 65,000 H-1B visas available to individuals with a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas available to individuals who have a U.S. master’s degree. Last year, USCIS received nearly 199,000 H-1B petitions in the first week, and fewer than 50% of the H-1B petitions were selected in the lottery.
Employers should initiate any H-1B petitions subject to the cap well in advance of this year’s anticipated April 2, 2018 filing date to ensure timely filing of the petition. Current filing fees for H-1B petitions include a $460 filing fee, $500 anti-fraud fee, and $1,500 ACWIA Training fee (if the employer has 25 or more employees), or $750 fee (if the employer has less than 25 employees). Employers may elect premium processing for an additional $1,225 fee.
The Department of Homeland Security has proposed certain policy changes to the H-1B program and other work visa programs under the President’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. Potential changes may include:
While these changes are only in the early proposal stages, we recommend that employers be prepared for any potential changes to the H-1B program as well as possible changes to or elimination of other work visa programs, including H-4 EADs, STEM OPT EADs for F-1 students, TN visas (under NAFTA), and L-1 visas. Please contact the immigration attorneys at Ryan Swanson as soon as possible if your company is considering filing any H-1B cap petitions this year.