There are only six (6) weeks before the start of the FY 2017 H-1B Cap filing season and to ensure timely filing, it is recommended that employers start submitting LCAs and gathering the necessary documents AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Last year, USCIS received a record number of 233,000 cap petitions and it is likely that the numbers will be even greater this year. Increased competition for H-1B cap numbers mean that there will be a surge of LCAs that the DOL will receive. Obtaining LCAs and other necessary documents (corporate records, academic transcripts, degrees, and other essential documents) in advance will help avert any possible processing delays.

If a U.S. degree will not be awarded by March 31, 2016, USCIS has approved H-1B petitions for foreign nationals who have completed their requirements for a degree, but have not yet received their degree. The petition will need to include evidence that the applicant has completed all degree requirements from a school official who is qualified to provide the information such as the Registrar, School Dean or Department Head.

Please keep in mind that USCIS will deny or revoke multiple petitions for one H-1B applicant and filing fees will not be refunded. In addition, please note that as per our previous article, employers who employ over 50 full-time employees and over 50% of those employees are in H-1B status, there may be a rise in fees from $2,000 to $4,000 for H-1B visas.

It is possible that employers who do not submit their cap petitions during the first five (5) business days of April may not be able to access the limited number of H-1Bs available for new employment.