Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Immigration & Compliance Law 
It's H-1B time (FY2016)



On October 1, 2015 the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) will release the H-1B visa numbers for the 2016 fiscal year.  While October may seem like a long way away, H-1B petitions my be filed starting April 1, 2015 - six months in advance of the H-1B start date. 


On April 1, tens of thousands of H-1B petitions will be filed to claim one of the 85,000 H-1B visa numbers (20,000 of which are reserved for those who have received a Master's degree or higher from an academic institution in the U.S.).


Last year, all 85,000 H-1B visa numbers for the 2015 fiscal year were exhausted the first week of April.  In fact, over double that number of petitions were received by the USCIS during the first week of April.  As a result, at the end of that week the USCIS could not accept any additional petitions and a lottery was held to determine which of the petitions received would be awarded one of the available H-1B visa numbers.  Following the conclusion of the lottery, over half of the petitions that were submitted were rejected as the H-1B quota had been exhausted.  


This year, with pent up demand and an improving economy, it is anticipated that even more petitions will be filed, resulting in a lower rate of acceptance. 


If you think you may need to file an H-1B petition on April 1, and have not already brought this to my attention, please contact me as soon as possible so I can evaluate the case and let you know if the H-1B petition should be filed this year.  This includes filing H-1B petitions for F-1 students whom you currently employ under Optional Practical Training (OPT), as well as employees who are working under a different visa category such as L-1, E, TN, etc.


Due to high demand for the limited number of H-1B visa numbers, employers should not wait until an employee has only one chance left for an H-1B visa as it may be necessary to re-file next year if the petition is not selected in the lottery this year.  Consequently, it is best if the employee's OPT will be valid at least until 04/01/2016 as this will provide a second chance at an H-1B visa number if the petition is not selected this year.  For individuals in a status other than F-1, their current status will need to be valid through 09/30/2016 in order to be able to have a second opportunity for an H-1B visa number.


I will be initiating all known H-1B cap cases over the next few weeks.  I encourage employers not to wait until the last minute to initiate an H-1B petition.  Remember that it takes at least 1 week to prepare an H-1B petition from the date that all the necessary information and documents have been received from the employer and the beneficiary because it takes the Department of Labor 1 week to certify the Labor Condition Application (LCA), a precursor to filing an H-1B petition.  Historically, as demand increases during the H-1B cap season, the LCA system is burdened to the point where there is a delay in processing LCA applications and often the LCA system may shut down entirely.  So, advanced planning will ensure that the H-1B petitions on behalf of your employees will be timely filed the first week of April.


Remember that most individuals who have not previously held H-1B status will be subject to the H-1B quota. 

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If you have any questions or concerns about the information provided in this email, please don't hesitate to contact me.




Leila Freijy
Law Office of Leila Freijy PLLC
Leila Freijy, Esq.
3150 Livernois Rd #145
Troy, MI 48083
248.287.4115 (fax)