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Historical H-1B Usage: An Educated Guess on How Many Petitions Will Be Filed this Year

On April 1, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2017 cap. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

We predict that H-1B petitioners nationwide will file in excess of 200,000 petitions during the H-1B cap 5-day application window of April 1-7, 2016.   Last year’s record filing total of 233,000 will very likely be exceeded.  This estimate is based on conversations with clients, other employment-based immigration attorneys, and economic trends such as the very low unemployment rate in the IT field.

The Congressionally mandated cap is set at 65,000 visas and, generally, those with a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent who are offered a related, professional-level position, will qualify. Moreover, an additional 20,000 visas are set aside for those with a U.S. Master’s degree. Once the Master’s cap is reached, eligible petitions for this cap are routed to the general Bachelor’s (or non-advanced degree cap). An additional 6800 visas are also set aside for H-1B1 applicants from Singapore and Chile. These are deducted from the annual cap.

USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives an excess of petitions during the first five business days, the agency will use a computer-generated lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed. Last year, the USCIS held an H-1B lottery because it received more than three times as many H-1B petitions as slots available.

If you are considering filing an H-1B cap-subject petition, PPID urges you to begin the process immediately.

International workers who are already working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa with another cap-subject employer are not subject to this year’s H-1B cap. These cases are commonly referred to as “H-1B transfer” cases and may be filed at any time throughout the year. H-1B visa extensions are also cap-exempt.

Employees that need or are considered to be “cap-subject” H-1B applicants include:

  • International students working on an EAD card under an OPT or CPT program after having attended a U.S. school
  • International employees working on a TN or H1B1 visa should file for an H-1B if they intend to pursue a permanent residency (green card) case 
  • Prospective international employees in another visa status: e.g. H-4, L-2, J1, F-1, E-1, E-2
  • H-1B workers currently working with a cap exempt organization 
  • Prospective international employees currently living abroad

Recent years H-1B Demand:

Year: H-1B Cap Numbers: Date H-1B Cap Reached:
H-1B 2003 (FY 2004) 65,000 October 1, 2003
H-1B 2004 (FY 2005) 65,000 October 1, 2004
H-1B 2005 (FY 2006) 85,000 August 10, 2005
H-1B 2006 (FY 2007) 85,000 May 26, 2006
H-1B 2007 (FY 2008) 85,000 April 1, 2007
H-1B 2008 (FY 2009) 85,000 April 1, 2008
H-1B 2009 (FY 2010) 85,000 December 21, 2009
H-1B 2010 (FY 2011) 85,000 January 25, 2011
H-1B 2011 (FY 2012) 85,000 November 22, 2011
H-1B 2012 (FY 2013) 85,000 June 11, 2012
H-1B 2013 (FY 2014) 85,000 April 1, 2013
H-1B 2014 (FY 2015) 85,000 April 1, 2014
H-1B 2015 (FY 2016) 85,000 April 1, 2015 
H-1B 2016 (FY 2017) 85,000 April 1, 2016(expected)

If you have any questions about the H-1B Cap system, the H-1B lottery, or the H-1B petition process in general, the experienced immigration attorneys at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP can help you navigate this complicated process.

Immigration News from ILW.COM
FAQs
  • Q: My employer wants to sponsor me to get a green card – can they?

    If you entered the United States without visa and are working here without legal documentation, your employer may be able to help you. But it’s important to understand that just because your employer wants to help doesn’t mean you will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including your prior history (and your family’s prior history) in the United States. So it’s good that your employer wants to help but the first step is to call us for an interview so we can understand more about your situation.

  • Q: How can I get a work permit?

    A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, you need a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get you a work permit. But you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit you have to make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. So don’t believe any other lawyer or person who tells you it’s an easy thing to get a work permit. Call us for an interview and we can explain to you how the process and the immigration laws in the United States really work.

  • Q:  Can I apply for deferred action now?

    As a result of the injunction issued by the District Court in Texas, applications for the expanded DACA program and DAPA are currently on hold. The Department of Homeland Security is not currently accepting requests for the expansion of DACA, as originally planned. Until further notice, it has suspended the plan to accept requests for DAPA.

  • Q: Does the new executive order or court injunction change Deferred Action protection under existing DACA?

    The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012. This ruling only delays the start of DAPA and the expansion of DACA.

  • Q:  Who can I contact for more help or information?

    It’s important that you speak with a qualified attorney who can explain all the options and issues relating to your immigration status.  Do not take advice about your immigration case from a notary public or an immigration consultant.  The U.S. immigration laws and rules are very complicated and many people take advantage of undocumented immigrants, making promises and charging money without providing honest advice.  Contact only a qualified immigration lawyer for legal advice about your case. If you encounter 'notarios' who offer legal advice without a license, report it.

  • Q; What should I do now?

    You can begin preparing now! Even though DHS is not currently accepting applications under DAPA or the expanded DACA programs, individuals who are potentially eligible for Deferred Action status should begin preparing their applications now. It is very likely that the Texas decision will be overturned and there will probably be a rush of applicants when that happens. Individuals should be ready with their applications and start now by gathering the necessary documentation and seeking good counsel to give themselves the best chance for success and to avoid potential problems.

  • Q: I haven’t seen my mother since I came to the U.S. 10 years ago. Can I apply for a visa so she can join me here?

    If you are a U.S. citizen or have a Green Card, then yes, you can apply for a visa for your family members. But the process can take a long of time, depending on your own status. If you’re a U.S. citizen, it might take 8 months to a year to process the application. The waiting time will be much longer if you’re a Green Card holder. Generally, the sooner you start the process the better. So contact one of our attorneys today to get started. Or click here is you want to learn more about the different types of visas that are available for family members.

  • Q: My grandma is sick back home – can I go visit her?

    Whether you can travel abroad depends on your immigration status. If you have been granted DACA or if you have a Green Card in hand – you still must ask for advanced permission in order to leave the country. This is called advanced parole. Obtaining advance parole is relatively inexpensive. But it is not without risk, because there is really no way to guarantee that you will be able to return. Your return is ultimately within the discretion of the authorities at the point of your reentry to the U.S.

  • Q: Can our company sponsor an employee to get a green card?

    If one of your employees entered the United States without visa and is working here without legal documentation, you may be able to help this person obtain legal immigration status. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to obtain a green card. The process for obtaining a green card is complicated and depends on many factors, including a person’s prior history (and their family’s prior history) in the United States. It’s definitely helpful to their case if you, as their employer, are willing to help, but the first step is to have the employee call us for an interview so we can understand more about their situation.   Or click here to read more information about green cards.

  • Q: What is a work permit?

    A work permit is a common way of referring to an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is issued by the Immigration Service (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Under U.S. law, an employee needs a work permit or EAD in order to become a legal employee of a U.S. company. Many lawyers will promise to get undocumented immigrants work permit. But you have to be careful about this. The catch is that you can’t simply apply for a work permit or EAD in itself. In order to apply for a work permit a person must make an application for legal status in this country on some other basis. So don’t let your employees get gulled into believing that it’s easy to get a work permit by some lawyer or hustler on the street corner. Call us for an interview and so we can explain to your employees how the process and the immigration laws in the United States really work.

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