With no relief in sight for an increase in the limited number of H-1B spots that will be available in Fiscal Year 2016 (FY 2016) nor likely implementation of other possible measures to improve the immigration system by April 1, 2015, are you ready for H-1B Cap Season?  If you are a cap-subject employer, it’s not too early to think about your hiring needs if you are considering petitioning for H-1B status for a foreign hire.

You may recall that in FY 2015, employers filed approximately double the number of cap-subject H-1B petitions as there were numbers available.  (See prior post on this topic at http://immigrationview.foxrothschild.com/h-1b-temporary-workers/fy-2015-h-1b-cap-what-are-the-odds/.) That left many employers in a difficult situation with regard to their staffing needs.  Roughly half of the H-1B petitioning employers didn’t receive H-1B approvals for their employees (e.g., F-1 OPT workers) or prospective employees.

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) holds an H-1B cap “lottery” again in April 2015—which will likely be the case–making your hiring decisions early won’t increase your chances of “winning” the FY 2016 H-1B lottery, but it could make your life a little less stressful.  Having a plan in place should allow you a comfortable amount of time to contact us with the details of your case for assessment, gather and provide us with the necessary documents and information, etc.

Sometimes it may not be possible to make a hiring decision this far in advance.  And, while most cases can be prepared quickly, it’s best to allow for the unexpected such as finding out that the worker doesn’t have a document and must obtain it from abroad, or perhaps a glitch with the electronic filing system used to process Labor Condition Applications (LCAs), which are needed as part of the H-1B petition packages.  While LCAs are generally processed without incident within 7 days from the date of filing, it’s best not to wait until the last minute…just in case.

For more tips on how to prepare for H-1B Cap Season, please see my prior ImmigrationView post on this topic at http://immigrationview.foxrothschild.com/h-1b-temporary-workers/its-beginning-to-look-a-lot-likeh-1b-cap-season/.

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Catherine Wadhwani is a partner in the Immigration Group at Fox Rothschild LLP. She may be reached at cwadhwani@foxrothschild.com.