Monday, March 18, 2013

H-1B 2014 Season - Lottery Likely

The USCIS has done some research, perhaps talking to high volume H-1B employers and the Department of Labor, who issues a vital part of the H-1B supporting documentation.  The US immigration agency estimates that they will reach the maximum number of petitions needed to meet the 65,000 visa limit by only the first five business days of submissions.  

The H-1B petition acceptance start date is Monday, April 1, 2013.  The anticipated “final receipt date,” or last date of acceptance of petitions and filing fees, is April 5, 2013.  If the anticipated number of petitions come in, the USCIS will decide by lottery which of the petitions it will consider.  The remaining petitions will be “rejected.”  Those unlucky petitions will be returned to their senders with their filing fee checks.  

Anticipating this influx of petitions, the USCIS will put the Premium Processing procedure on hiatus for H-1B petitions until April 15, 2013.  Those who find out that their petitions will proceed to adjudication will be able to upgrade later to Premium Processing, if they desire a 15 day response on their petitions, for $1225.  The approved H-1B petitions are good for a work start date only as early as October 1, 2013, in any case.

Base government filing fees for an H-1B petition are $325 (for an I-129) and $500 (Fraud Fee).  Other fees may apply: e.g., ACWIA Fee ($750 for a company of up to 25 employees).

H-1B petitions are filed by US employers to hire foreign nationals with four year college or university degrees, or the equivalent work experience (three years for every one year of college required).  The jobs into which the foreign nationals are hired must require a four year college degree or more.  The employer must testify that they will pay at least the "prevailing market wage," the wage paid typically to others in the same types of jobs in the geographic area of the worksite, or the wage paid to others in the same job at the company (the "actual wage").

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