2009 Changes to the LCA Process Raise Concerns About H1B Visa Issuance

Employers planning to file H1B visa petitions for H1B professionals may face more tough times in 2009. The USCIS will begin accepting petitions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 H1B visas from Wednesday, April 1, 2009. The soonest these visas can be used for work authorization will be October 1, 2009, which is the start of FY 2010. Last year, both quotas were exhausted within the first week of the filing season.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced its intention to make procedural changes to the labor condition application (LCA) process. An approved LCA document must be received from the DOL before an H-1B petition can be filed with USCIS. Currently, the LCA documents are issued electronically within minutes of submitting an on-line filing. Under the new procedures, LCA issuance is expected to take up to 7 days, or possibly longer, to allow the DOL to provide closer scrutiny to applications submitted.

We urge all employers and H1B visa workers not to wait for the last moments in March to file LCA application, rather start early this year to make sure you make the cut. Call or email us with any questions.