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H-1B Update: It Is Time To Start Planning For H-1B Filings For April 1, 2019

January 30, 2019

We [Americans] are a nation of immigrants. We all understand what this country has become because talent from all around the world wants to come here, people who are willing to take risks, people who want to build on their dreams and make sure their kids have an - even bigger dreams than they have.

                                               --Barack Obama


The H-1B visa category is the central vehicle enabling American Employers to hire non-US college educated workers for complex jobs (called “specialty occupations”). We are sending this message to you now because there is a one-week window at the beginning of  April 2019 to file new petitions in this category. With February near, it is time to start considering whether you need to file for H-1B status for employees, or if your employer needs to obtain an H-1B for you. The preparation process goes most smoothly if you start now. Missing the April deadline means waiting an entire year to file.


The H-1B category is the subject of more attention and more misconception than any other visa. Despite all of the talk, the H-1B program is alive and well. It continues to be one of the best ways for American businesses to engage much needed international talent.


To succeed in this climate, every petition must be well-conceived, well-drafted and presented to USCIS in a carefully organized manner. At Dyer Harris LLP, we are eagerly looking forward to this year’s H-1B season and all of the benefits that H-1Bs bring to highly qualified candidates and their employers. Our firm handles many of these Petitions each year, giving us a true depth of expertise in the area. However, we never take on so many cases that any client ever feels lost in the crowd. Our expertise, matched by our attention to detail and caring relationships with each of our clients, puts our work in a class by itself.  Last year, all of our new adjudicated  H-1B petitions were approved by USCIS. 


Here are the fast facts for new cap-subject H-1Bs in 2019:


  • All new H-1B petitions must be filed between April 1 and April 5, 2019.

  • There are two groups of H-1B petitions:

    • Candidates who have US Masters Degrees. 20,000 visas will be issued.

    • The Regular Cap: 65,000 visas will be issued.

    • Because more than these amounts apply each April, a lottery is held, to determine which Petitions will be adjudicated. Each group will have its own lottery to select petitions for review. USCIS has instituted new lottery procedures which will provide an increased statistical advantage to petitions filed on behalf of candidates with US Masters Degrees.

  • H-1B candidates on OPT will benefit from an automatic extension of OPT until October 1, when H-1B status begins (with approval of the petition).

  • H-1B status is valid for a maximum of 6 years, divided generally into two 3-year terms. (Travel outside the US (and a timely filing of a labor certification application) can extend this 6 maximum.)


Key Elements We Must Prove in an H-1B Petition

  • That a US Employer has offered the employee a complex job that requires at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a field specifically related to the job. 

  • That the employee has an appropriate degree that has provided the knowledge necessary to perform the duties of the complex job.

  • That the employer will pay the non-US employee at least the prevailing wage for the position, as determined by the US Department of Labor.


Typical H-1B Occupations: While the press focuses on computer programmers, our clients in the H-1B category cover the full gamut of job titles: Reporter, Business Analyst, Supply Chain Manager, Graphic Designer, Interior Designer, Industrial Designer, Marketing Research Specialist, Public Relations Specialist, Financial Analyst, Sustainability Manager, Operations Research Analyst and many others. In general, if a position requires a Bachelors Degree and/or substantial experience, it may be appropriate for an H-1B.


We are anticipating a large number of H-1B filings in our office, and we request that clients help us start work on these petitions as soon as possible, and wherever possible, during the month of February. We look forward to discussing any new H-1B petitions which you may be considering. Please let us know if you have any questions, or if we can be of service to you.


Kevin Dyer and April Harris

Dyer Harris LLP
250 West 57th Street, Suite 624
New York, New York 10107​
(212) 599 2396











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