We Are Now Accepting New H-1B Cases to File on April 1 for October 1, 2007 Start Date!!!

As this year’s H-1B cap opens up, H-1B employers and employees all around the nation are scrambling to get H-1B petitions ready to file by April 1. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting new H-1B petitions for professionals that count against the FY2007 cap on April 1, 2007. These workers will be eligible to begin H-1B employment on October 1, 2007.

The current iscussion in the immigration law community seems to indicate that the H-1B cap will be reached in record time this year. Employers looking to hire new H-1B workers are urged to begin the H-1B petition process now. Keep in mind that last year, all 65,000 H-1B numbers were utilized within a month and a few weeks of the April 1st filing date.

For those who are already in the U.S. and seek a change of status to H-1B, it is important that they maintain their current nonimmigrant status until October 1 in order to remain eligible for a change of status. This may be particularly difficult for F-1 students currently on Optional Practical Training (OPT) which will expire before October 1. USCIS has previously issued cap-gap legislation to forgive this lapse of status, but cap-gap legislation has not been enacted for the past two years and there has not yet been any indication that it will be passed this year.

For those who are not able to maintain status until October 1, it will be necessary to leave the U.S. and wait outside the country for the H-1B petition to be approved, and then get an H-1B visa (unless visa exempt as a Canadian citizen) and reenter the U.S. on the H-1B. The earliest the beneficiary can be admitted is 10 days before the employment start date.

USCIS announced on March 5 that effective April 2, 2007, all forms I-129 and I-539 are to be filed directly to either the California or the Vermont Service Center, “as applicable.” However, they have yet to announce the criteria that will be used to determine which service center a case should go to.

We at the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick would like to reiterate the importance of filing all H1B petitions subject to the cap as early as possible to increase one's chance of securing an H1B visa number for FY2008. Based on the expected demand for the limited H1B numbers, it is widely anticipated that the H1B cap will be reached very soon after the filings begin. Please contact our office as soon as possible to start processing your H1B case now!!

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