News Regarding FY2017 H-1B Cap
April 1, 2016 marks the opening date of the filing window for H-1B petitions seeking a FY2017 (10/1/16 to 9/30/17) cap or quota number. USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions for the 2017 H-1B cap starting Friday, April 1, 2016.
The H-1B quota limitations are as follows:
Regular cap (Bachelor’s degree): 58,200
Regular cap, Citizen of Chile: 1,400
Regular cap, Citizen of Singapore: 5,400
Master’s cap (Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. University): 20,000
You may recall that for the past three years the H-1B quota was met as soon as the filing window opened on April 1st, triggering the lottery provision. This provision requires the USCIS to allow employers to continue to submit H-1B cap-subject petitions for five business days. All of those petitions are then placed in a random lottery to determine which petitions will receive a cap number. As the economy continues to improve, we anticipate that FY2017 H-1B cap-subject filings will again exceed the quota limitations. Thus, we encourage you to open any H-1B cap-subject cases as soon as possible so that our firm will have ample time to prepare the cases for filing in early April.
If you anticipate a need to file an H-1B petition under the FY2017 cap (beginning April 1st), please contact our office as soon as possible. We recommend initiating H-1B cap cases at this time, although please note that filing with USCIS cannot occur until April 1st. Again, please note that by law the effective date (date that H-1B work authorization will take effect) for these petitions cannot be any earlier than October 1, 2016.
Individuals who may need a cap-subject H-1B visa
1. F-1 students currently working pursuant to Optional Practical Training
2. Individuals in TN status (pursuant to the NAFTA Treaty)
3. Individuals who are nearing the end of their L-1B status
4. Individuals who are nearing their first L-1B extension. Based on the increased scrutiny by USCIS of the L-1B classification (i.e. increased RFEs and denials), switching to H-1B status rather than filing for an L-1B extension may be a better option depending on the particular case
5. Individuals who are in their 4th or 5th year in L-1A status and do not qualify as multinational managers for the permanent residency process
6. Candidates coming from abroad or not currently work authorized
7. Candidates seeking to transfer an H-1B from a cap-exempt to a cap-subject employer (such as a university to a for-profit company)
Cases which are NOT subject to the H-1B cap
1. H-1B amendments (filing to change a term or condition of employment for an employee who already holds H-1B status)
2. H-1B extensions (filing to extend the stay of an employee who already holds H-1B status)
3. H-1B transfers (filing to transfer an H-1B from Employer A to Employer B)
4. H-1B petitions for someone who has held an H-1B in the past 6 years
5. H-1B petitions filed by cap-exempt employers, such as universities or non-profit research institutions