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Immigration News: Filings to Begin April 1 for Fiscal Year 2009 Quota of H-1B Visas

March 18, 2008

By The Immigration Practice Group

The first day the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will accept H-1B petitions to be counted against the fiscal year 2009 H-1B quota is Tuesday, April 1, 2008. (The H-1B employment start date may be no more than 6 months from the date of filing the H-1B petition, and in no event earlier than October 1, 2008.) As soon as possible, employers should identify the current and prospective employees for whom H-1B petitions will be necessary so that the petitions may be prepared in advance of the recommended April 1 filing date.

The H-1B quota was exhausted last year on the first day that petitions were accepted by USCIS. Therefore, employers should make every effort to ensure that H-1B petitions are mailed on Monday, March 31, 2008 for receipt by USCIS on Tuesday, April 1, 2008.

An additional 20,000 H-1B petitions are available for beneficiaries who have already been awarded an advanced degree from a U.S. academic institution. Last year, this quota was reached on April 30, and it is expected to be reached even earlier this year. In fact, many experts believe that this cap could actually be reached on April 1. Therefore, employers planning to file H-1B petitions for workers with U.S. advanced degrees should also prepare to file such petitions on April 1, 2008.