In less than eight weeks, this year’s H-1B visa filing season begins. While many immigration attorneys and human resources professionals have already begun their application prep, others many need to utilize their immigration case management software to catch up.
What to expect this year
Fragomen predicts demand for the 85,000 available H-1B visas will be greater this year than it was last year, which is impressive considering U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received 172,500 petitions last year.
The 172,500 applications submitted in 2014 were all received in a one-week period, and USCIS used two separate lotteries to decide which petitions to process. Of those who applied, 20,000 filled the cap for workers with U.S. advanced degrees. This left 152,500 people to be selected for the 65,000 bachelor degree-level spots.
“HR departments and attorneys need to have their H-1B petitions in on April 1, 2015.”
What you need to do
Considering the intense demand for H-1B visas, HR departments and attorneys need to have their petitions in on April 1, 2015. Petitions submitted to USCIS after the 85,000 cap has been reached will automatically be rejected and not part of the lottery. The longer you wait to submit an H-1B petition, the more likely you are to miss the cut off, which is a moving target.
Last year, the chance of receiving a H-1B visa was 42 percent, down from 62.5 percent in 2013, Fragomen reported. If demand for these visas is even greater this year, the likelihood of getting your visa processed could be less than half.
Immigration professionals should take advantage of their CMS to get their H-1B visas in on time.
It isn’t all doom and gloom
While the need for H-1B visas may make you slightly pessimistic about you clients’ chances of receiving a visa, there’s no need to believe you can’t get your petition in immediately on April 1 and have a stronger chance of getting approved. There’s an element of chance with the lottery, but not in the preparation.
The many benefits of your immigration-focused CMS can prepare you to file your clients’ petitions right away.
The H-1B workflow within the case management platform ensures you don’t miss any critical steps of the process leading up to April. This will keep you on track while you gather wage information, which can include union and government data, and submit Labor Condition Applications with the U.S. Department of Labor. You can also set calendar reminders when you need to move to the next step.
Through the secure client portal, you can collect the information and official documents you need from your clients to prove they meet the education and specialty occupation requirements for the H-1B visas.