GUEST POST: Six Tips for Employers Filing for an H-1B Visa

Notwithstanding the lopsided outcome in last night’s game — I’m not saying that the game was over early, but, at halftime, the NFL began preparing their shipments of “Denver Broncos: Super Bowl 48 Champs” apparel to third-world countries — I’m bailing on writing a post. So, today we have a guest blog post at The Employer Handbook. It’s from the folks at Intervisa.

(Want to guest blog on an employment-law topic at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

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As one of the most in demand working visas in the U.S., the rejection list for H-1B visas is exceptionally long and ever expanding. While this is the case almost all year long, the first of the year can get especially chaotic for this particular visa. So what can employers do to increase their odds of obtaining H-1B visas for their employees this time of year? While there isn’t one surefire answer to this question, there are many small details that employers can attend to throughout the application process for a better chance at approval. To help you out, we’ve provided the six helpful tips below. These provide some of the most important advice that we can offer to HR professionals from our experience with filing thousands of H-1B visas from our firm. Read through the list before you start your application process to find out how you can optimize your employee’s chances of approval.

1. File at the Right Time
Demand will exceed the limited cap of H-1B numbers significantly, so file on April 1 to increase likelihood of acceptance in the lottery selection process. This will require starting the process early to be sure the LCA, forms, letters, and other items are in place on time.

2. Double Check for Errors
All cases should be reviewed very closely to be sure they are error-free. Otherwise, if USCIS rejects the case for some deficiency in the filing, the beneficiary will miss the H-1B lottery.

3. Know the Process
If an F-1 student working on OPT gets his/her H-1B case accepted in the cap lottery, there is an automatic extension of OPT work authorization until the H-1B becomes active on October. (This assumes the OPT work authorization was valid up until the time the H-1B petition was filed.)

4. Check Fees
Ensure all filing fees are correct, as the requirements vary depending on the makeup of the sponsoring company.

5. Understand Your Applicant
Applicants with advanced US degrees will have two bites at the apple, so to speak, since they will first be put into the special lottery for those with advanced US degrees. If they are not selected in that process, they will be put into the lottery process for the regular H-1B cap.

6. Identify Exceptions for Students
F-1 students who miss this year’s H-1B cap can extend OPT if two things happen: (1) the sponsoring employer is enrolled in E-Verify; and (2) the employee has a degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

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