2018 H-1B Filing Season Opens for U.S. Employers

The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. The program benefits U.S. employers in the STEM/R&D and related fields.

There is an annual allocation cap of 65,000 H-1Bs, with 6,800 of those reserved for Singapore and Chile pursuant to free trade agreements (FTAs) established with each country (the H-1B1 program). An additional 20,000 H-1Bs are allocated to foreign nationals who have earned a master's or higher degree from a U.S. college or university. Certain organizations are exempt from the cap, including government research organizations, non-profit research organizations, and institutions of higher education.

The caps set by Congress are woefully inadequate in today's marketplace. As such, over the past several years, the cap has been reached within the first few days of filing. Economic indicators reveal that this trend will continue into this year's cap season. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting H-1B petitions on April 1st of each year for employment beginning on October 1st of the same year. This year, April 1st is a non-business day and petitions will first be accepted on April 2, 2018. Any applications filed prior to that date will be rejected. The cap was reached on April 7th in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. This means that employers and their immigration counsel must work together now to prepare their April 2nd filings.

If you would like additional information concerning the 2018 H-1B Filing Season and the current and prospective foreign national employees who might benefit from the program, please contact Matthews Immigration Group at 919.882.2026 or info@matthewsimmigration.com.

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