For Your Members: Don’t Wait to File New H1-B Petitions
Here’s an item your members should take note of if they hire foreign nationals. This news alert, courtesy of Kansas City, MO, law firm Lathrop & Gage, LLP, came to ACCE’s attention from Mary Birch, former president of the Overland Park (KS) Chamber of Commerce. Today, Mary is the firm’s government relations coordinator.
The alert is reprinted here with permission from Lathrop & Gage, LLP.
Increase in Demand for H-1B Quota Suggests Employers Should Not Wait Beyond April 1, 2013, to File New H-1B Petitions
Employers who hire foreign nationals often do so in a classification under U.S. immigration law known as “H-1B.” This category is used often to fill jobs in occupations that typically require at least a bachelor’s level education in a specialized field. Examples of jobs for which the H-1B category is used might include engineers, physicians, graphic designers, scientists, accountants, and teachers.
To hire a worker in H-1B status, an employer must obtain authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). For many years, Congress has imposed an annual quota on the number of new H-1B cases USCIS can approve for a federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). An H-1B case can be filed up to 6 months in advance of the date an employer wants to hire a foreign worker. Hence, the earliest a case can be filed for the quota in an upcoming fiscal year is April 1 of the fiscal year before.
Prior to the downturn of the economy in 2008, the demand for H-1B workers consistently exceeded the annual quota. As a result, employers routinely filed all of their H-1B cases for an upcoming fiscal year on the April 1 before. USCIS then used a lottery to decide which cases it could process without exceeding the quota.
When the economy slowed, the demand for H-1B workers dropped dramatically, so it was no longer essential for an employer to file its H-1B cases for the next fiscal year by April 1 for the cases to have a shot at being processed. Over the last three years, however, the situation has changed. The period the quota for the next fiscal year has remained open after April 1 has gotten progressively shorter as the economy has improved.
For Fiscal Year 2011, the quota stayed open approximately nine months. For Fiscal Year 2012, the open period lasted approximately seven months. For the current fiscal year, 2013, the quota was only open for about two months.
It will therefore be prudent for employers who want to hire H-1B workers for Fiscal Year 2014, which starts October 1, 2013, to file their cases on April 1, 2013, lest they not be able to file at all. Considering the steps that need to be completed for filing, employers should begin the H-1B process in the next few weeks, if not sooner.
Examples of foreign national prospects for whom employers may need to file H-1B cases include the following:
- Those in student (F-1) status who are currently employed based on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization or who are about to complete their degree programs;
- Those currently working for another employer in another nonimmigrant status such as L-1;
- Those who may wish to change their nonimmigrant status to H-1B from another status, such as J-1 or TN; and
- Those recruited from overseas.
The annual H-1B quota mandated by Congress is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 reserved for those who hold U.S. master’s degrees or higher. A limited number of employers - higher educational institutions, nonprofit entities affiliated with higher educational institutions and nonprofit and government research organizations - are not subject to the quota. A limited number of foreign nationals, such as those who have previously been counted towards the quota and granted H-1B status and physicians who have received “Conrad 30” waivers, are also exempt from the quota.
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The information contained in this document is provided to alert you to legal developments and should not be considered legal advice. Specific questions about how this information affects your particular situation should be addressed to your legal counsel. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.
On a roll. . . at the top
At only 30-years-old, Mike Evans is on a roll . . . all the way at the top. And, people in Naperville, Ill., are recognizing this young talent. Last December, Evans took the helm of the Naperville (IL) Area Chamber as its new president and CEO, following five years as executive director of the Bolingbrook (IL) Chamber of Commerce. Get to know Mike Evans, who is eager to “foster the next generation and help them to grow and become leaders and entrepreneurs,” when you read this article from last week’s Naperville Sun.
At the start of 2014, Medicaid is to be expanded due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to people with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That expansion was expected to take in approximately 16 million uninsured people nationwide.
However, the Supreme Court’s ruling allows states to opt-out of the expansion. Thus, many governors across the country have said that their state will not expand Medicaid coverage as outlined in the ACA. This also means that those states will not be receiving the federal dollars tied to the expansion, as states that agree to the Medicaid expansion will have 100 percent of the costs paid by the federal government for the first three years.
Fiscal concern begins after the first three years when states are expected to shoulder up to 10 percent of the costs. Those increased expenses in that fourth year and beyond could strain already costly Medicaid programs.
Chambers will be watching this issue closely as the time comes for state legislatures weigh in on the issue. Join the conversation about Medicaid expansion at the next Government Relations division call on January 15, 2013. Details found at acce.org.
For a snapshot across the country, visit advisory.com’s map of Medicaid positions.
To read more about ACAs impact on Medicaid, visit Medicaid.gov
Stateline.org has a number of articles about Medicaid expansion:
Court Lets States Opt out of Medicaid Expansion
For Some States Medicaid Expansion May be a Tough Fiscal Call
Obama Win Means Big Health Care Decisions for States
Riding Success Wave in North Myrtle Beach
For North Myrtle Beach (SC) Chamber President Marc Jordan, CCE, last week’s editorial in Myrtle Beach’s The Sun News was perhaps the best Christmas gift he received. The newspaper published an editorial saluting the chamber’s five-year growth plan and gave a nod to Jordan’s “obvious and contagious passion.”
Despite the tough economy, the chamber’s initiative, “Building North Myrtle Beach,” whose goal was to raise $2.5 million over five years, has met great success. Not only has the chamber already met its goal, but they are now planning to raise $3.5 million. And most remarkably, it’s all been driven by the private sector, with the rallying call for support coming straight from Jordan.
ACCE joins The Sun News in commending Jordan and his team’s tremendous effort! Read more about the campaign when you read the editorial in its entirety here.
Is Your Chamber "Closing the Loop?"
In this YouTube video, WACE President Dave Kilby explains how, in order to excel as the voice of business, it's important for chambers of commerce to report how their elected official voted on key business issues. Click on the image below to view the video.