Mackall, Crounse & Moore, PLC has joined Dewitt Ross & Stevens S.C.

The newly formed DeWitt Mackall Crounse & Moore S.C. will provide clients with enhanced legal services
and efficiencies as well as access to more than 100 attorneys practicing in nearly 30 areas of
law in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Dismiss this message

×

News & Education

Back to Employment Law News Feed

Filter by:

H-1B Work Visa Season Is Coming Up


A new year means getting ready for a new H-1B work visa season. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions on April 3rd for new H-1B classifications subject to the annual H-1B cap. As has been the case in recent year, we expect that USCIS will receive enough applications to run out of H-1B visas within the first five days of the filing period.

Businesses seeking to employ a foreign national in H-1B status should start preparing the petition as soon as possible. Although USCIS begins accepting petitions on April 3rd, there are other steps that must be done in advance, including a separate application with the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore, careful planning and preparation are a must, to ensure that the H-1B petition is ready to be submitted to USCIS in a timely manner.

Is H-1B right for you?

H1-B is a non-immigrant visa classification used for individuals who seek employment in the U.S. in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. To qualify as a specialty occupation, the intended job must require at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent, along with the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. Examples of specialty occupations include jobs in IT and computer science, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting law, theology, and the arts, among others.

In addition, an employer cannot use H-1B workers in a way that would negatively affect the wage or working conditions of U.S. workers employed in the same or a similar occupation. Therefore, an employer must pay the H-1B worker a wage that is at least equal to the prevailing wage rate established for that type of occupation in the applicable geographical area.

Timing of the H-1B petition.

Under current law, there are 65,000 H-1B visas available each year to individuals holding a bachelor degree or equivalent. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available to individuals who obtained a Master or Ph.D. degree from a U.S. university.

In recent years, USCIS reached the H-1B cap within the first week after the filing period started each April. Last year, USCIS received over 236,000 petitions. The year before, the agency received nearly 233,000 such petitions. Consequently, USCIS subjected the petitions it received to a random, computer-generated selection process equivalent to a lottery. It is anticipated that this year will see the same trend.

Not all H-1B petitions are subject to the numerical cap.

Individuals who already have H-1B status and who are seeking to extend or amend their existing status, or transfer to a new employer, are not counted against the cap unless they have already spend six years in H-1B status. In addition, H-1B petitions filed by an employer that is an institution of higher education, a nonprofit entity related or affiliated with an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization or government research organization, among others, are also generally not counted against the cap.

How soon should you start preparing an H-1B petition?

Many of the documents needed in support of the H-1B petition are easily accessible, such as corporate records for the petitioning employer. However, there are other documents that must be obtained from third-party agencies. All of these steps take time and proper coordination, in order to ensure that all requisite pre-approvals are secured, and all documents assembled in time for USCIS to receive a complete application package as soon as the filing period opens on April 3rd. Therefore, we recommend that interested employers and the intended H-1B employee(s) start preparing these documents right away.

If you are seeking H-1B clarification for the upcoming fiscal year, contact Attorney Raluca (Luca) Vais-Ottosen at rvo@dewittross.com | 608-252-9291

About the Author

Raluca has assisted numerous clients with immigration matters ranging from family-based and individual immigration applications, to employment related visas and I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification issues. In addition to her immigration practice, she also has an extensive background in Employment Law. She assists companies in a number of areas, including but not limited to claims of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation, termination and constructive discharge, workplace investigations by state and federal agencies, as well as employment litigation.

Contact Luca by email or by phone at (608) 252-9291.

Disclaimer

One of the best features about our website articles and blog entries is that they are timely—you get up-to-date information on the law as it exists at the time. The downside is that the law changes, but our older entries don't. That means we can't guarantee you are getting the most current law when reading through past entries.

Please don't take these articles and blog entries and rely on them as legal advice. Give us a call instead, for specific and pointed advice for your particular situation. Note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship, unless you are accepted as a client of the firm.

Our Locations

Madison

Two East Mifflin Street, Suite 600
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-8891
Get Directions

Greater Milwaukee

13935 Bishop's Drive, Suite 300
Brookfield, WI 53005
(262) 754-2840
Get Directions

Minneapolis

1400 AT&T Tower,
901 Marquette Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612)305-1400
Get Directions


Get to know us

DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C., including its affiliate DeWitt Mackall Crounse & Moore S.C., is one of the ten largest law firms based in Wisconsin, with an additional presence in Minnesota. It has nearly140 attorneys practicing in Madison, Metropolitan Milwaukee and Minneapolis in over 30 legal practice areas, and has the experience to service clients of all scopes and sizes.

Our People
Our Law Firm
Leadership
Areas of Expertise
News & Education
Contact Us

Partners

We are an active and proud member of Lexwork International, an association of midsized independent law firms in major cities located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Awards

Best Lawyers 2013 - 2016
Compass Award 2012
Top 100 Lawyers: National Trial Lawyers Association

  • blf-badge-2016
  • blf-badge-2017

NOTICE

While we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you (an “engagement letter”). You will not be a client of the firm until you receive such an engagement letter.

The best way for you to initiate a possible representation is to call DeWitt Ross & Stevens at 608-255-8891. We will make every effort to put you in touch with a lawyer suited to handle your matter. When you receive an engagement letter from one of our lawyers, you will be our client and we may exchange information freely.

Please click the “OK” button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.