Last year USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions within five days of April 1, 2013. On April 7, 2013 the computer generated random selection process (lottery) was conducted to select 20,000 H-B petitions filed on behalf of persons with U.S masters degrees. All advanced U.S master’s degree petitions that were not selected were added to the random selection process (lottery) conducted for selection of 65,000 H-1B petitions in the general category. Prior to the recession in the financial year of 2008 the entire quota was reached before the end of the first day that petitions were accepted. The economy has picked up again and demand for H-1Bs from the IT sector is very high and last years’ experience indicates that we are back to the pre-recession H-1B demand. It is expected that USCIS will again hold a computer generated random selection process (lottery) for cap subject H-1Bs. Last year over 30% of H-1B petitions in the General category were rejected in the lottery. This year the percentage of H-1B’s rejected in the lottery is likely to be even higher.
What can you do to increase the likely hood that your enterprise will have sufficient H-1B petitions selected in the lottery system this H-1B season?
Advanced preparation is of key importance. The employer who is more likely to file sufficient petitions for his needs and have the selected ones approved without an RFE will successfully do the following: identify their H-1B needs and end-clients; in-house projects and candidates; know their beneficiaries qualifications in advance; and, make sufficient time to review and re-review their petitions for loose ends, missing documents and clerical errors. The employer who waits to do everything in March is more likely to find in the last minute that he has not been able to file sufficient petitions to meet his needs and that many of the petitions he has filed will not be approved without an RFE.
Steps to be taken to put your company ahead of other H-1B Employers:
First Week of February
1. Identify Current employees that will need or desire H1B status (examples are those working on OPT, L2-EAD, J-1, L-1, TN, E-3 etc)
2. Gather educational certificates and other employee documents of current employee’s (including End-client letter substitution documents)
3. Request attorney to file the LCA’s for current employees. While filing an LCA a few weeks early will result in grant of initial H1-B status for a few weeks less than 3 years, its is preferable to do so since:
- Large amounts of last minute filings can be expected to slow down DOL processing;
- You are required to create the public access file within one working day of filing the LCA, filing the LCA and preparing the PAF beforehand, permits you to not have to be concerned about a DOL site visit or audit in the last minute.
- An LCA certified in advance will reduce last minute stress and conserve energy for activities like obtaining end client letters.
4. Gather documents for current employees to support in house project (please request attorney for an in-house project checklist)
5. Forward documents to attorney to assess missing documents and prepare H-1B package
6. Seek end-client letters for current employees to add to package upon receipt
February Second Week
7. Identify potential candidates for future employment (it is expected that you will have to add more candidates to this list as you go along but it is important to short list those identified ASAP)
8. Gather their educational certificates & educational evaluations
9. Prioritize and first select candidates with U.S masters as they are more likely to be selected in the lottery;
10. Identify candidates that do not have the equivalent of U.S bachelor’s degree or do not have appropriate qualifications
11. Identify potential End-client’s/projects (again it is understood that you will be adding on clients and projects as you go along)
12. Assess the number of new H1-B employees you will require for each end-client/ project, verify with clients how many end-client letters they will be providing
13. Request Attorney to file LCA’s for all candidates/projects identified (more can be filed at later date when you identify more candidates/projects)
14. Forward documents to Attorney to assess missing documents and prepare H-1B package
15. Seek end-client letters to insert into package as and when received
Third Week of February
16. Forward signed H-1B packages along with required checks to Attorney
17. Continue to seek end-Client letters and Contracts
18. Forward end-client letters to attorney as and when received
19. Continue to request attorney to file LCA’s for projects and candidates as and when identified
20. Continue to gather documents for later identified candidates as and when identified
21. Forward documents to attorney for assessment and preparation of H-1B petitions for later identified candidates
MARCH FIRST WEEK START TO FINALIZE ALL PACKAGES
MARCH 19th DEADLINE FOR FILING LAST MINUTE LCA’S (ONLY 7 WORKING DAYS LEFT TO MARCH 31st
MARCH 31st 2014 OVER NIGHT ALL PACKAGES TO ARRIVE AT USCIS ON APRIL 1ST 2014