4 Things Employers Should Know about the H1-B Visa Process.

The H-1B, or business non-immigrant visa, is part of a special program to allow employers in the United States to employ certain skilled foreign workers on a temporary basis. The application process is monitored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and is an increasingly competitive selection process.

In fact, the entire allotment of 85,000 three-year visas for 2017 was recently filed in just four days, the fifth year the cap has been met in less than five days. The recent number of approvals represented just over 30 percent of all applicants, and the total petitions submitted continue to grow each year. Some exemptions to this cap are available for universities and certain non-profits.

Anyone desiring to enter the country under the provisions of H-1B must submit a properly prepared petition during the specified periods of time. Because of the highly competitive nature of this process, it is common to rely on an experienced immigration attorney to complete the application.

The applications for an H-1B are all submitted at a time specified by the USCIS, generally April 1, for the following fiscal year. The envelope and form of the submission must adhere to specific requirements and labeling. For example, H-1B1 treaty cases must bear the “C/S Cap” designation. Properly submitted applications are processed through special lotteries that allocate the legally available slots, plus those qualifying for exemptions.

Immigration attorneys track the constantly changing status of H-1B rules and lotteries. For example, 6,800 of the 85,000 quota slots for FY2018 are allocated to citizens from Chile and Singapore. This makes it important for individuals to contact such an attorney concerning their status and application.