With the annual April H-1B cap right around the corner now is a great time to start thinking about individuals you’d like to sponsor and opening cases. The H-1B cap officially opens April 1, 2019. For the past few years, the USCIS accepted cap petitions the first five business days of the month, and we anticipate the same this year. Petitions received after will not be eligible to be selected in the H-1B cap lottery. Starting the process early can provide peace of mind as April approaches knowing that the cases are prepared or that if positions or employees change there is time to make adjustments.
Employees you may consider sponsoring for the cap include:
- Employees in F-1 OPT or CPT status
- Employees who are currently working abroad
- Employees in other visa statuses who may be sponsored for a green card
- Employees working on an H-4 EAD
- Employees currently on TN status, such as those working under the Economist category.
Due to the nature of the H-1B cap, even if an employee’s current status is valid until 2019 or later, you may want to consider filing an H-1B cap case now so that they have more chances at the cap. This past April, USCIS received 190,000 petitions for 85,000 spots.
It is also important to keep in mind processing timelines for the certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), which is required for all H-1Bs. If your company has not filed an LCA in the past, it must register with the Department of Labor prior to filing an LCA. Typically, it takes a few days for the Department of Labor to verify a company, but verification tends to take longer as April approaches. Once a company is verified with the Department of Labor, the LCA can be filed. LCAs are usually certified in 7 days, but that timeline tends to get longer as well. In the event of any error on the LCA or change to to position it’s vital to have time to correct it and have a new LCA be certified.
For companies that place employees at client sites, starting the H-1B process early can provide more time to ensure that sufficient evidence regarding the client relationship can be obtained. Providing client documents early allows your business immigration attorney ample time to review them and for additional documents to be obtained in the event of incomplete or insufficient evidence. Not having the proper documentation can result in an inability to file the case or a Request for Evidence later.
We encourage you to speak with you Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney about any individuals you’d like to sponsor or if you have questions about the types of positions that qualify for an H-1B.