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USCIS to accept H-1B petitions w.e.f April 1st 2013

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will start accepting new cap-subject H-1B petitions with effect from Monday, April 1, 2013. Employers looking to hire a foreign national in the US in a "specialty occupation" may sponsor their H-1B visa. Specialty occupations are those that require, at a minimum, a Bachelor's Degree.

These new cap-subject H-1B petitions will have a start of October 1, 2013.

Only a first-time H-1B employee will be counted against the H-1B quota. An H-1B change-of-employer or an H-1B extension filing is not counted towards the year's quota numbers.

There are 65,000 H-1B's available each year under the regular quota. An additional 20,000 H-1B's are available to those foreign nationals who have a Master's degree from a US university. Once the 20,000 visas reserved for Master's degree holders is exhausted, the visas remaining from the regular quota will be utilized by both the Bachelor's and Master's degree holders.

It is anticipated that the H-1B quota is likely to get over soon this year-maybe within a few weeks. Employers looking to sponsor H-1B visas must be prepared to submit the paperwork as early as March 29th to ensure that USCIS receives the petitions on April 1st.

Students who are working pursuant to the Employment Authorization Document ("EAD") issued under the Optional Training Program should ensure that the employers file their H-1B petitions before their EAD expires. This will ensure that they can continue to work for the H-1B employer until October 1st, 2013, even with an expired EAD.

H-1B 2013 Cap

For more information on the H-1B filing process, please contact the Law Offices of Sweta Khandelwal at [email protected] or 408 505 2065 I 408 200 0972.

The countdown begins!

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