As anticipated, the 2015 H-1B visa quota was met quickly. On April 7, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year 2015, and that it had received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS reported that it received approximately 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. Since the quota limit was met, on April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process to select those petitions that would be used to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 advanced degree exemption cap. Unfortunately, those petitions that were not randomly selected will be rejected and returned to the petitioner along with the applicable filing fees.
USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28, and will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the 2015 H-1B cap, and USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
- Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
- Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
- Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
- Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
H-1B Visa Eligibility Requirements
The H-1B non-immigrant visa is available to foreign workers who are employed by U.S. companies in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers. In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, the employee must meet the following requirements:
- The applicant’s job position requires a bachelor’s or higher degree;
- The applicant possesses at least a bachelor’s degree or its U.S. equivalent, or a combination of education and experience equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree; and
- The wage offered to the applicant is at least the prevailing wage, or the actual wage paid to other professionals similarly employed, whichever is higher.
Contact an Employment Immigration Lawyer
If your H-1B visa petition was not selected through the lottery and is not exempt from the cap, there may be other employment immigration options available. The Chicago employment immigration attorneys at The Shapiro Law Group have more than 30 years of experience helping clients with their visa and immigration needs. We are familiar with the H-1B visa requirements and application process, as well as a number of other work visa options.
Contact us at (847) 564-0712 to discuss your visa needs with one of our employment immigration lawyers.