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. Last year the quota filled in the first seven days of filing, with three times as many filings as visas available in the quota. Accordingly, a random lottery was held to determine which petitions would be adjudicated. Continued improvements in the economy and the number of OPT holders who have used their 17 month STEM extension have caused practitioners to believe that the quota will fill up in the first week of filing again this year. If you have an employee or potential employee for whom you want a FY 2017 H-1B, you should contact our office immediately to discuss beginning the H-1B process.