The FY2007 H-1B Season Is Upon Us – By Ashwin Sharma, Esq.

March 20, 2006
By Ashwin Sharma

The FY2007 H-1B visa quota opens Saturday April 1, 2006.  There is no way to predict how long the quota will last with any degree of accuracy, therefore, it is adviseable to file petitions as soon as possible.  Last year’s quota ran out Mid-August 2005 – it was expected by many to last until at least September or October 2005.  Since the IT market is booming, it is expected that this year’s quota will run out faster than last year.

Employers can petition for H-1B nonimmigrant workers as early as six months prior to the employee’s anticipated start date. Therefore, if an employer wishes to have an employee start on October 1, 2006, the earliest date that the employer may file the petition with the USCIS is April 1, 2006.

This year I urge those of you who hold a US Masters degree or higher to file only for one of the 20,000 visas available for holders of advanced degrees.  Ensure that your attorney has selected this exemption, and not the regular 65,000.  This will obviously increase the number of visas for other applicants who only hold an undergraduate degree.

Some pointers to maximize your success of obtaining an H-1B this year:

  1. File early.

  2. Ensure that you have compiled all of the documentation that your employer or attorney has requested.  Missing, incomplete, or unlegible supporting documentation will contribute to higher than normal processing delays due to the hectic filing period immediately following April 1, 2006.  On a related note, confirm that your employer has also put together all necessary documentation.  Following up with employers is crucial, especially those who are not familiar with the H-1B process.

  3. Make legible copies of all documents.  Always include photocopies of both sides of your SSN and I-94 (if applicable).

  4. Again, if applicable, be sure to get your educational evaluations completed early.  

  5. Include documentation showing your valid status until at least October 1, 2006.  If you are presently in H4 or other dependent status, obtain documentation showing that your spouse is in valid status until at least October 1, 2006.  

  6. Make certain that your job title matches your educational and/or work experience background.  Consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2006-07 Edition to investigate the correlation between your job title, job duties and skill sets with your qualifications.

  7. Make sure that your employer is offering the prevailing wage for your job and job location.

  8. Discuss any past visa denials with your attorney.

Click here to view our firm’s H-1B page, or call us at 904-779-0111 if you have any questions about H-1B processing.

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