The arrival of the new year brings us that much closer to the arrival of the H-1B work visa filing period. The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows U.S. employers to hire skilled foreign workers for temporary employment for an initial period of three years. There is currently a Congressionally-mandated cap of 65,000 on the number of new H-1B visas that can be granted for the new fiscal year that starts on October 1, 2008.* The filing period to petition for a new H-1B visa opens on April 1, 2008.
Last year, by the second open filing day the Citizenship and Immigration Services had received more than twice as many applications as there were spots available, leading to less than half of the applications being accepted for processing. It is all but certain that this year will have the same result, showing that advance planning and a little luck is required to obtain an H-1B visa.
Employers should carefully evaluate their needs and expectations regarding hiring foreign nationals within the next year. Now is the time for employers who anticipate needing to hire one or more skilled foreign nationals this year to begin the petitioning process.
If you would like assistance with filing an H-1B visa petition or have questions about other immigration-related matters, please call Mark Mathison, Casey Nolan, or another member of the Gray Plant Mooty Employment Law Practice Group.
*Many employers find that the H-1B visa cap of 65,000 is woefully inadequate to allow them to meet their needs to fill open positions with qualified foreign professionals and puts them at a competitive disadvantage. For information on how you can contact your congressional representative to advocate for an increase in the visa cap, please visit: http://capwiz.com/aila2/home/.
The Employment Edge (Immigration Issue) is a periodic publication of Gray Plant Mooty, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information purposes only, and you are urged to consult an employment lawyer concerning your own situation and any specific legal questions you may have.
This article is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. You are urged to consult a lawyer concerning any specific legal questions you may have.
Gray Plant Mooty is recognized as one of the leading corporate law firms in Minnesota and one of the top franchise firms in the world. Our roots go back to 1866. Today, we are a 180-plus attorney, full-service firm with offices in Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; and Fargo, North Dakota.