With 2017 finally upon us, now is as good a time as any for employers to begin planning for the incoming cap of H-1B visas for the 2018 Fiscal Year, which officially begins on October 1 this year. The H-1B is a major visa category in U.S. immigration policy that allows highly skilled foreign professionals to enter the United States for employment purposes.
Not surprisingly, the number of H-1B visa applications has been on a steady rise. In 2015, around 36 percent of H-1B petitions were chosen in the lottery. That same year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received close to 233,000 H-1B applications. The following year, this increased to 236,000 petitions. And employers can expect this upward trend to continue, which is why immigration authorities are recommending that they file their petitions as early as possible, beginning on April 3, 2017.
Under existing immigration law, only 65,000 new H-1B petitions are approved during each fiscal year. An additional 20,000 petitions are open to immigrant applicants with advanced degrees from an educational institution in the United States.