Gearing Up For H-1B

For business immigration attorneys, this time of the year is more than just tax season, this is also H-1B season. The deadline for H-1B petitions is April 1 and attorneys are striving to complete the applications and send them in for employers before the cap is filled.

The cap for H-1B visas still maintains at 65,000 even though the popularity of this visa is ever increasing.  If your beneficiary has obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher, the attorney may relax her efforts, but only a little bit! Those with U.S. equivalents of master’s degrees or higher are exempt from the 65,000 gap and the USCIS will consider the first 20,000 petitions received for beneficiaries with these advanced degrees.

Historically, the 65,000 cap is usually filled within the first week after USCIS begins accepting applications! That’s why having an attorney with a set plan of action and a set schedule of when certain tasks need to be completed by the petitioner is extremely important.

For example, of particular importance is the certification of the Labor Conditions Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor.  In order to obtain this certification, the employer must submit a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) with the application. A PWD can be done by first referring to the the O*NET Database and obtaining an occupation code for a job title that is the most similar to the beneficiary’s job title. Second, the employer or the attorney for the employer must utilize the occupation code to find the prevailing wage through the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center.

Moreover, the LCA may not be filed more than 6 months before the application for the H-1B. Simultaneously, employers must balance that with the requirement that there be enough time to undergo a proper hiring process to show that the employer have undergone an extensive process and was unable to find an U.S. resident suitable for the position.

All this must be done correctly to avoid penalties should your employer be selected at random for an audit! Zhang-Louie, Immigration Legal Counsel can help you ensure that the entire process is done correctly and successfully.  Contact us at 978-482-7728 for more information on how we can help you.