Even though we’ve just entered 2017, its time to start focusing on one of the most important dates of the entire year: April 3, 2017 — the date when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting new H-1B visa petitions. While that may still be several months away, the time to start getting the visa petition ready is NOW.
Demand by U.S. employers for H-1B visas on behalf of “highly-skilled” foreign employees reached unprecedented levels last year and is expected to remain high this year. Because it is expected that the 85,000 available H-1B visas will be gone within the first week of April, U.S. businesses should file their H-1B visa petitions on April 3, 2017. Due to prerequisite filing steps which must be completed before the H-1B petition can be submitted to USCIS, employers should begin preparing their petitions now to ensure they are ready to submit on April 3rd.
Employers should assess their upcoming workforce needs and identify whether any foreign national employees will require H-1B visa sponsorship. These individuals may include:
- New graduating foreign students in the U.S.
- Overseas individuals seeking to start work in the U.S.
- Foreign individuals in the U.S. already working under a different nonimmigrant status for a different employer and are seeking to change jobs
Failure to file your H-1B petition on April 3rd may jeopardize your chance at securing an H-1B visa for your employee. After the 2017 H-1B visas are gone, employers will have to wait until April 1, 2018 to file H-1B petitions again, and foreign employees may lose their lawful status and authorization to work.
The clock is ticking…don’t delay!