For the past several years, many industries in California, including financial services and information technology, have relied on the H-1B visa program to hire skilled workers.  It is expected that the current economy along with fears of future restrictions to the H-1B visa program will continue to create a high volume of visa petitions in 2018.

The federal government has an annual cap of 85,000 visas (20,000 visas for employees/beneficiaries with a masters degree or higher from a U.S. university and 65,000 visas for the general pool of othewise qualified employees/beneficiaries) that it issues through the program. Within days after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services opens the petition period (first week of April), petitions exceed the visa limit. The agency then runs with a computer program to select visa petitions to review for the year.

Therefore, it is important for any employer who is looking to hire qualified, high skilled workers, through the H-1B program, to be well prepared for petition filing by the first week of April 2018 in order to employ the worker by the start of the fiscal year (October 1, 2018).  Alison Yew has many years of experience with H-1B filings and can provide relevant guidance on how to be prepared so that filing by the first week of April can go as smoothly as possible. Contact us now to discuss further.

It is a complete myth that the visa program displaces American workers with foreigners who will accept lower pay.  The program has regulations in place to prevent this, including but not limited to, the requirement that the employer pays prevailing wage or higher to the intended foreign worker.  If the prevailing wage (set by the Department of Labor) in fact is lower than what the company pays other similarly-qualified employees in the company with the same job duties, then the employer must pay that higher wage to the foreign, skilled worker it wishes to hire through the H-1B program.

There may be other options to employ a skilled foreign worker in the United States without going through the H-1B program.  See Business and investment immigration to consier other employment or investment based visas that may be options for you.