H-1B visas are used by companies to bring foreign professional workers to the United States for three-year periods of employment. The number of H-1B visas available in any given year - the current cap of 65,000 is significantly below the level of demand. No cap-subject H-1B visas are available at this time, but beginning on April 1, 2007, employers may file petitions for H-1B visas which will have start dates of October 1, 2007. Under the current laws, once the H-1B cap is reached, employers will not be able to request new H-1B visas until April 2008 for October 1, 2008 start dates.
Because of the high demand for H-1B visas, the H-1B cap has been reached earlier and earlier each year. Last year, no new H-1B petitions were accepted after May 26, 2006. This year, the H-1B cap may be reached soon after the filing window opens. Employers should take this time to consider their H-1B needs for October 2007 through September 2008. All H-1B cases subject to the cap should be prepared early so that they may be filed as quickly as possible after April 1, 2007. If you have questions about the H-1B visa process or about a specific case, you may contact one of our immigration specialists through the Parker Poe Web site.