News & Articles

Immigration Law Update: Our Predictions for 2014 & H-1B Cap News

Published on January 27, 2014

By Janet Cheetham, Joel Paget & Marsha Mavunkel

Our Predictions for the Coming Year

  • Comprehensive immigration reform will be passed by the end of the year. This will cause the largest migration of employees from one employer to another once 11 million people have “legal status.”
  • Employees from India, China and other countries will be waiting fewer years for permanent visas and for authorization for their spouses to work.
  • There will be special visa allocations for graduates with STEM degrees- those in science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Foreign owned companies from Treaty countries such as Canada, England, Japan, Israel and Korea will have an easier time hiring new employees from their home country for work in the U.S. than U.S. companies will have in hiring a person outside the U.S.
  • The H-1B quota will increase after the initial filing date of April 1, 2014 which means employers need to file on that date to protect their new hires.
    We suggest a member of your hiring team consult with legal counsel to develop a long range hiring strategy.

H-1 B Deadline Quickly Approaching

The H-1B visa filing deadline for 2015 petitions is April 1, 2014. Petitions for the new fiscal year, which starts on October 1, 2014, will be accepted by the government beginning April 1, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to accept new H-1B petitions after April 1, 2014, but only until the H-1B cap is reached. This year we expect the cap to be reached quickly. As a result of overall economic conditions improving over the past year, we expect the H-1B cap to be reached as early as the first week of April. Once the H-1B cap has been reached, employers will be unable to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions until April 1, 2015.

Congress has placed a numerical “cap” on H-1B visas. For FY 2015, the limit is 65,000 cap-subject H-1B visas, with an additional 20,000 visas available for individuals who have earned a Master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. educational institution. There is no way to predict when this year’s H-1B quota will be exhausted, but we advise employers to make H-1B sponsorship decisions within the next few weeks. It is important to prepare H-1B petitions as early as possible and well before April 1st so that a complete petition can be submitted to USCIS on the first day that the quota opens.

We recommend the petitioner pay the additional $1,225 USCIS premium processing fee. The USCIS has to respond within 10 business days. It does not guarantee selection in the lottery or an approval, but it does bring certainty to the process. One of the petitions we filed for a client on April 1, 2013 was not approved until January 2014.

Janet Cheetham, Joel Paget and Marsha Mavunkel are attorneys in Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC’s Immigration Group. Janet can be reached at 206.654.2235 or [email protected]. Joel can be reached at 206.654.2215 or [email protected]. Marsha can be reached at 206.654.2253 or [email protected].

This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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