Beginning on April 1, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B cap petitions for the Fiscal Year 2014 annual quota of 85,000. Based on recent years' trends, it is anticipated that demand for new H-1Bs will be higher than in the past several years, making it more likely that the annual quota will be reached much earlier. In Fiscal Year 2013, the H-1B cap was reached on June 11, 2012.
The earliest a Fiscal Year 2014 H-1B cap filing can be made is April 1, 2013, and filing can continue until the H-1B cap has been met. Federal law permits H-1B petitions to be filed up to six months prior to the requested employment start date. All H-1B petitions approved under the Fiscal Year 2014 cap will be effective no earlier than October 1, 2013.
Employers should plan to submit their H-1B petitions as early as possible, preferably during the first week of April in order to maximize the chance of obtaining one of the new available H-1Bs. In the event that sufficient petitions are received during the first five business days of the filing season to completely exhaust the annual quota, USCIS will run a lottery to choose the cases that will be processed to completion. If the cap is not reached during this initial five-day period, USCIS will continue to accept filings on a day-by-day basis until the quota is filled.
For Further Information
If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact any of the attorneys in our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.