We are rapidly approaching the April 1st deadline for the filing for new H-1B visas for the 2009 to 2010 Fiscal Year (FY 09-10).
H-1B Petitions for FY 09-10 must be received by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS") on April 1st, 2009. If you do not begin to make preparations as early as possible then you and your prospective H-1B employer will be unable to secure an H-1B (subject to the cap) for the October 1st, 2009 start date.
Unless Congress acts immediately to increase the quota of 65,000 visas (plus and additional 20,000 for those with Masters Degrees from U.S. Academic Institutions), the allotted number of H-1B visas are likely to be taken on the very first day that the petitions may be filed. This is what happened last year and it is presently anticipated that the same thing is going to happen next year.
Last year during the "run on H-1Bs" many people did not receive the visa because the petitions were not filed in a timely manner. Other cases were not "properly filed" (defined in the CIS regulations) and were incomplete or deficient in some way and they were therefore not approved even though they were filed in a timely manner. If petitioners fail to properly meet each one of the regulatory filing requirements, then the petition may not be considered "properly filed" and may be returned.
There are a few things that prospective H-1B employers and H-1B employees can do to improve the likelihood that the H-1B will be accepted by the CIS. First, be sure that all of the appropriate documentation is contained in the H-1B petition. Second, be sure that the H-1B is submitted to the CIS in a timely manner. Third, be sure that the H-1B is sent to the proper CIS Service Center for adjudication.
Most importantly, H-1B petitioners should consider the possibility of utilizing filing multiple H-1B petitions. Be advised that the CIS issued guidance concerning multiple H-1Bs.
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