With comprehensive immigration reform stalled in the United States Congress, the available H-1B visas for 2014 are likely to be quickly snapped up by eager employers seeking to fill vacant specialty job titles in their companies. The U.S. State Department has set a limit of 65,000 H-1B visas to be issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the 2014 season, which is set to begin on April 1st.
The H-1B visa allows foreign workers with advanced skills and higher degrees of education to work in the U.S. for no more than six years. Tech firms in the U.S. have been involved in major lobby efforts to convince Congress that a higher number of these visas are necessary to ensure that the country maintains a competitive edge in the global economy.
Immigration attorneys and H-1B analysts expect that demand for these employment-based visas will be quite high this year. The highest number of H-1B visas allowed in recent history was 195,000, which took place during the halcyon days of the American dot-com bonanza at the turn of the century. Since 2003, the H-1B visa cap has stayed at 65,000 with the exception of an extraordinary 20,000 visas that can be awarded to foreign workers who have completed their graduate studies in the U.S.
Over the last few years, the U.S. tech industry has experienced a renewed period of growth and expansion; to this effect, the administration of President Barack Obama has encouraged Americans to pursue higher education programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, the tech industry is facing immediate staffing challenges that could be alleviated with a higher H-1B quota, which is not expected to happen until immigration reform is enacted.
The demand for foreign skilled workers guarantees that the 2104 H-1B visa season will be busy and that the quota may be reached faster than expected. Prospective employers are urged to have their application packets ready well in advance of the first week in April, and they should ask professional San Diego immigration attorneys to explain their foreign worker options. Some workers may be exempt from the visa cap if they are moving from one employer to another, and former H-1B visa holders may be able to bypass cap restrictions under some circumstances as they apply to reclaim their status.
To find out if you employ workers who are exempt from the visa cap or for assistance with filing your H1-B visa paperwork correctly and on time, please contact the immigration lawyer at Kazmi and Sakata in San Diego today. Simply dial 858-874-0711 for a free consultation.