U.S. Employers Gear Up With Uncertainty for FY 2018 H-1B Processing
PUBLISHED BY: LFN Primary
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) March 10, 2017 – Lost in the focus generated by the legal challenges filed against President Trump’s executive order affecting individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries are U.S. employers’ real concerns about filling temporary professional positions for upcoming fiscal year 2018 under the H-1B program, under the new Administration.
“U.S. employers are again gearing up to prepare for what is expected to be a large volume of H-1B petitions and file them on or shortly after April 1, 2017,” said Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “Employers will be relying on H-1B regulations substantially unchanged since last year, but with a big unknown as to how the Administration may alter a much needed program in a highly charged political environment.”
Current law allocates 65,000 H-1B visas annually for positions which are professional in nature and which require at minimum a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent. There are an additional 20,000 H-1B visas reserved for individuals who hold U.S.-earned master’s degrees or higher, and federal regulations permit U.S. employers to file H-1B petitions six months in advance of the commencement of the fiscal year, which is October 1 of each year.
In the past fiscal year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services received approximately 236,000 H-1B petitions for the approximately 85,000 H-1B visa numbers by the end of the first week in April, 2016, exceeding the 20,000 advance degree H-1B cap, as well as the 65,000 H-1B cap.
While President Trump has hinted at changes to the H-1B program to be announced in the short term, U.S. employers are left to guess what if any impact such changes may have on an already uncertain path to meet marketplace professional talent shortages.