by Allissa Wickham
With another potentially record-breaking H-1B visa season approaching, attorneys can’t afford to be tripped up by technical errors or weak legal arguments in their visa petitions.
The deluge of H-1B petitions filed each April seems to be getting bigger each year. Last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received about 233,000 H-1B petitions in just five business days, a number the agency said was likely a record.
But as the demand continues to rise, the H-1B cap stays the same — only 65,000 are provided each year, along with an additional 20,000 for workers who have earned a master’s degrees or higher in the U.S.
If an employer hasn’t sponsored an H-1B worker before, it’s crucial to make sure it registers with the DOL to be able to file its LCA, according to Jeffrey Bell
of Polsinelli PC.
“As we get towards the end of March each year, where more and more requests are made by employers to become registered, the process, which usually only takes two or three days, all of a sudden could take much longer,” Bell warned. “And so, a first-time employer, particularly, should make sure to register well in advance with the Department of Labor.”
Even employers who have previously filed H-1Bs should check to that their DOL registration remains valid, he said. And they should consider filing their LCAs as far in advance as possible, while keeping in mind that they can’t file it more than 180 days before the LCA’s start date, especially since the DOL has been experiencing electronic issues recently, Bell said.
“I think employers might want to take that into account and simply don't assume that they can log into iCert quickly and easily and file a labor condition application,” Bell said. “It may not be that easy or that simple this year.”
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