H-1B Visa 2015 – Filing Season

H-1B Visa 2015 – Filing Season

The H-1B visa program is meant for U.S. employers who want to hire foreign workers and who are unable to find high skilled workers in the U.S. Such employers who are in need of skilled workers can use this visa program to bring employees from foreign countries to the U.S.

There is a cap on the number of H-1B visas available each year and that cap will be reached within a short period as the demand for H-1B visas is very high. It is now the right time for the U.S. employers to prepare H-1B petitions for the Fiscal Year 2015. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is likely to start accepting H-1B visa applications from April 1, 2014. U.S. employers who wish to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations may to start preparing their applications now.

To qualify for an H-1B visa, a foreign worker should have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. The U.S. Congress grants only 65,000 H-1B visas every year. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are being granted to individuals who have earned master’s degrees from U.S. universities. U.S. employers need to prepare their H-1B petitions as soon as possible. This will help them to file their petitions on the very first day the USCIS opens the quotas.

Employers are required to prepare in advance as they need to file a prevailing wage request with the National Prevailing Wage Center, prior to filing their H-1B petitions. They also need to submit an “alternative wage survey” that will help them to find out the prevailing wage for the H-1B workers they want to hire. They need to file Labor Condition Applications with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and get it approved.

U.S. employers need to prepare all the above well in advance and that will help them to file their applications at the right time. USCIS will accept 85,000 H-1B applications and issue only 85,000 H-1B visas. According to the USCIS H-1B visa rules, after the H-1B filing season begins, USCIS will accept petitions for these visas for a minimum of five business days and will stop accepting petitions if the quota has been reached on the fifth working day. In case the quota has not been reached, USCIS will continue to accept applications until the quota is reached. Applications the USCIS receives after the fifth working day will be entered into a lottery. USCIS will choose 65,000 petitions for specialty occupations and 20,000 higher degree applications at random.