The Fiscal Year 2015 H-1B season is quickly approaching and has been projected to be yet another short season.
Each Fiscal Year (FY), which starts on October 1, 65,000 H-1B visas become available for what is referred to as the “General Cap,” and 20,000 H-1B visas become available for what is referred to as the “Master’s Cap.” Those individuals holding a U.S. Master’s degree or higher may fall within the Master’s Cap; all others fall within the General Cap. The FY H-1B filing season opens six months before each FY, i.e., during the first week in April.
The FY 2015 H-1B Cap season will open on April 1, 2014 with employment beginning October 1, 2014.
In the past few seasons, as H-1B visa numbers dwindled, the rate of filings of Cap-subject H-1B visa petitions increased. For this reason, we predict the H-1B quota will be reached within the first week, just like last year.
This will be yet another short H1B season. In FY 2009, 165,000 H-1B petitions were filed within the five-day filing period at the beginning of April 2008 and a lottery was needed to select the petitions that would be awarded a place within the Cap. After the start of the Great Recession, however, the demand for H-1B visas decreased dramatically, resulting in significantly longer H-1B seasons: the FY 2010 H-1B Cap was reached December 21, 2009; the FY 2011 H-1B Cap was reached January 27, 2011; the FY 2012 H-1B Cap was reached November 22, 2012; and the FY 2013 H-1B Cap was reached June 11, 2012. The FY 2014 H-1B Cap was reached April 5, 2013 and all petitions were subjected to the random lottery process. Many see the markedly higher demand for H-1B visa petitions as indicative of an improving job market and economy in the U.S.
Employers wishing to file H-1B Cap-subject petitions with the earliest possible start date in FY 2015, i.e., with a start date on or after October 1, 2014 need to start their cases immediately. Employers cannot file H-1B visa petitions for new employees until they first obtain a labor condition application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which takes at least six business days to process. Start now or wait about 18 months before the next H-1B visas are available in October 2015.
If you have questions, we have answers. Give us a call today to discuss or to get started on preparing your FY2015 H1B CAP cases.