2018 H-1B — Call to Action

Are you thinking about hiring a foreign national under the H-1B visa program? 

2018 H-1B --Call to Action by Jeff Margolis

On April 1st, 2017, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting H-1B visa petitions for the Fiscal Year 2018 with an anticipated work start date of October 1, 2017. With the economy now in good shape, there is expected to be an even greater demand for H-1B visas than in previous years.

The H-1B quota is capped at 85,000 visas, divided between 65,000 visas for foreign nationals with a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. or foreign university, and 20,000 allocated for foreign nationals who have completed at least a master’s degree from U.S. universities. Due to the very limited number of visas available, this year their allocation will again be decided by lottery.

Considering the ongoing trends from previous years, we predict that the H-1B 2018 Cap will be met within the first week of filing (April 3 to April 7, 2017) due to the pent-up demand and the number of re-applications from previous years. Therefore, employers hoping to secure H-1Bs on behalf of current or prospective employees will do well to plan ahead in order to file their applications before the deadline. This means that now is the time to assess your needs and begin preparation of the case. If you miss out in April, there will be no new H-1B visas available until October 2018, unless new legislation is passed to increase the number of H-1Bs available (under the new regime, doubtful).

Employers should consider whether their current foreign national employees, who are currently under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, will need to be transitioned to H-1B status after its conclusion. As OPT is generally limited to 12 months, employment beyond the first year is typically contingent on securing an H-1B visa.

Furthermore, those relying on the 3-year OPT are encouraged to apply for the H-1B lottery, as that is the most secure way to ensure long-term employment. As a result, we encourage any employers of foreign national employees working through the OPT program to apply for the H-1B and secure their employees’ status in the United States.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to discuss your options, contact Jeff Margolis or Scott Goldsmith at 212-490-0900.

Jeffrey A. Margolis, Principal

11 East 44th Street (between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue)
Suite 1505
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 490-0900
Fax: (212) 490-0700

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