H-1B cap season is an uncertain time of year, since U.S. employers can’t control whether or not their foreign nationals’ petitions are selected in the lottery. However, there is one controllable factor that can negatively affect companies this cap season — how early the cap petition is prepared.
The government caps H-1B visas at 85,000. In 2015, there were 233,000 submitted — a dramatic increase from last year’s 172,500. The need for this highly skilled talent shows no signs of waning. In fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012, it took an average of 266 days to fill the entire quota. But in fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016, it took an average of just six days.
With the increasing interest in this work visa, it’s become conventional wisdom to get a head start on cap season to ensure the attorneys working on your case have ample time to build a strong petition. But many employers still put off beginning the petition process. To help you understand the advantages of planning ahead, here are the top three reasons to prepare your petitions early:
1. Strengthen employee retention
New recruits aren’t the only individuals subject to the cap. F-1: Students with Optical Practical Training and L-1: Intracompany Transfer visa holders also often seek H-1B status to extend their U.S. work authorization. Lengthening the employment authorization period for these established employees reduces turnover and helps solidify your workforce. H-1B cap season is an uncertain time of year, since U.S. employers can’t control whether or not their foreign nationals’ petitions are selected in the lottery.
Next step: Conduct an audit of each foreign national employee to learn ahead of time how many H-1B petitions you’ll need to sponsor for cap season, in addition to your new foreign national recruits.
2. Take advantage of a budget surplus
Does a surplus in your recruiting budget roll over into the following year? If not, start the petition process now so you won’t lose those excess funds. Begin recruiting and find an attorney to help prepare your petition so next year’s funds can be used for other initiatives.
Next step: Review your budget to learn if you have a surplus. Consult an attorney that charges flat fees to determine if your remaining budget can cover the recruiting expenses.
3. Gain peace of mind
Cap season is often a stressful time, and adding to your workload imparts unnecessary pressure on your team. Gain peace of mind this cap season knowing you and your attorney spent adequate time preparing a strong petition months before the April 1 deadline.
Next step: Decide when to begin the petition process. Think about the various parts of the petition process, which include recruiting the right individual, completing the labor condition application process and compiling the necessary documentation. With all of these varying factors, most likely the time to start the process is now.
Contact Envoy if you need assistance filing your H-1B petition. Envoy-affiliated attorneys have prepared thousands of petitions, earning a 95%+ case approval rate.*
*Approval is not guaranteed in any given case; approval depends on the specific facts and legal circumstances of each case. This excludes B-2 visas.
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