April 2 through 6, 2012, is the initial filing window for new H-1B petitions to be filed against the USCIS FY2013 H-1B quota if the H-1B quota availability is immediately exhausted. Employers should therefore determine as soon as possible whether they have any new H-1B petitions to be filed under the FY2013 quota (for start dates on or after October 1, 2012). While the quota may not be exhausted in the first week of April (as it was in 2008), demand for professional hiring is unpredictable. We therefore recommend that for any known H-1B needs through September 30, 2013, employers strongly consider filing H-1B petitions during this filing window.
The quota provides for 65,000 H-1B visas, and 20,000 additional H-1B visas for individuals who have a master's or higher degree from a U.S. university.
Please contact us if you wish to file a new H-1B petition. We would like to collect all necessary information in February to provide sufficient preparation time. In general, new H-1B petitions apply to individuals who have not held H-1B status in the last six years, or who have obtained H-1B status by working for an H-1B cap-exempt institution. H-1B extension petitions, including most H-1B change-of-employer petitions, are not subject to the quota.
In your review, please consider the following:
Determine whether you employ any foreign nationals for whom we may not have a record in our office (e.g., F-1 and J-1 students, TN NAFTA professionals, L-1B specialized knowledge transferees).
Determine whether there are any individuals you wish to consider for employment beginning October 1, 2012, who require a new H-1B petition.