H-1B CAP Alert
Please keep in mind that April 1, 2015 is the first day the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the annual statutory cap. Petitions accepted as of April 1, 2015 will allow nonimmigrant workers to begin employment on or after October 1, 2015.
This past year, USCIS received approximately 172,500 H-1B petitions, far exceeding the available statutory quota. A lottery was conducted to select petitions for adjudication and those not selected were relegated to refiling again on April 1, 2015. It is unknown at this time how the number of H-1B filings beginning on April 1, 2015 will compare to the number of petitions USCIS received last year. With the economy continuing to improve, and more hiring taking place, it is likely that the statutory quota will again be exceeded soon after the period for filing H-1B petitions opens.
Work Authorization for H-4 Dependent Spouses
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced, as of May 26, 2015, spouses of H-1B visa holders who are in the permanent residency process will be able to apply for work authorization. The standard for whether the H-4 spouse is eligible to apply is when the H-1B nonimmigrant worker holds an approved I-140 immigrant petition and/or H-1B status beyond the normal six-year maximum under the “AC21” law.