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First-Time H-1Bs for Fiscal Year 2007 Can Start Filing April 1, 2006

Mar 24, 2006

On March 24, 2006, the USCIS issued guidance on H-1B matters. First, it indicated that it would begin accepting H-1B petitions for first-time H-1B numbers starting April 1, 2006. Please be advised that there will be only 65,000 first-time H-1B numbers available for this year (October 2006 to October 2007). Employers can start filing petitions on April 1, 2006 but the employee will not be able to start work until October 1, 2006. It is advisable to file your H-1B petitions as soon as possible as the visa numbers are likely to run out by the end of the summer (as it did last year) The guidance memo also reminds beneficiaries that if a person has already been on an H-1B visa and wishes to transfer to another employer then immigration will look to see whether or not the beneficiary has actually performed work for the original petitioning employer for a “significant length of time.” “The USCIS will begin accepting filings for the FY2007 H-1B cap on April 1, 2006. In anticipation of this event, USCIS is reminding the public of important regulatory requirements. H-1B petitioners should keep this emphasis in mind as they prepare petitions in order to avoid delays in processing and possible Requests For Evidence (RFE).

“8 CFR 214.2(h)(2)(B) requires that petitioners provide a detailed itinerary of the dates and places where work will be performed if those services will be provided in more than one location. For example, a labor contractor or consultant who hires H-1B workers to work at client sites must provide in advance an itinerary with dates and places where the worker will perform that work.

"In addition, 8 CFR 214.1(c)(4) requires that an applicant for extension of status have maintained his or her nonimmigrant status. In situations in which an H-1B worker is changing to an employer other than the one for which the initial H-1B petition was approved, USCIS will require that the worker changing employers demonstrate that he or she actually did perform work for the original petitioning employer for a significant length of time. In situations in which the H-1B worker is processing abroad, USCIS will work closely with the Department of State to ensure that this same level of integrity is applied to consular processed H-1Bs.”

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