The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced on April 12, 2016 that it received more than 236,000 H-1B petitions for specialty occupation visas for foreign workers for Fiscal Year 2017. These petitions were received in the first five business days of April, breaking the record set last year for the highly popular visa. USCIS stated that it received approximately 3,000 more petitions this year than last year.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced today that it has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption. USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption.
On February 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (“DOL”) has held that a computer products company owes an Icelandic woman $341,693 plus interest after filing a specialty visa for her and then not paying her the wages it owed her for six years of work. Datalink Computer Products Inc. and its President owe the money to the H-1B visa holder because they did not undergo the proper procedure to terminate her labor contract agreement (“LCA”), according to the DOL decision.
Employers who want to file for a Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B visa need to be aware that it is anticipated that the quota will fill quickly this year. The earliest effective date for a FY 2017 H-1B is October 1, 2016, which is the first day of the U.S. government’s new fiscal year. Employers may begin filing for FY 2017 H-1B visas as early as April 1, 2016. There are 65,000 H-1B visas available and an additional 20,000 visas for beneficiaries who have obtained a Masters Degree or higher at a U.S. institution of higher education.