H-1B's are one of the most sought-after visas used by U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty or highly technical occupations. The duration of stay is three years and extendable to six years, but there is an exception to the maximum length of stay that applies in certain circumstances. 

According to Envoy, only 85,000, or 43% of the 199,000 cap-subject petitions submitted were accepted into the H-1B visa lottery in 2017. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS starts accepting H-1B petitions at the beginning of each April, and this past year the H-1B visa cap closed in five business days...that's right....closed in just five days. 

Of those 85,000 H-1B petitions accepted, 20,000 are reserved for specialty workers with advanced degrees, 58,200 are reserved for all specialty workers and 6,800 are accepted for specialty workers from Chile and Singapore. It's definitely competitive!

What does that mean for you, the global mobility manager of a company that is bringing talent into the U.S.?

That means 57% of petitions were not accepted, making the chances of getting the H-1B visa you apply for more unlikely than likely. Again, according to Envoy, it also means it’s critical to have everything organized so your petition makes it to the lottery to have a chance of acceptance and you might want to check out their  H-1B Visa Cap Survival Guide.

From determining prevailing wages to preparing Labor Condition Application or LCAs, as well as setting an action plan for possible site visits, there are many steps to complete before you’re able to submit a cap-subject H-1B petition. If you don’t get started soon enough, the applications you hope to submit may never even have a chance at making the H-1B visa lottery.

Check in with your Relocation Management Company (RMC) and Global Immigration Partner to make sure you are on track for helping your company get the talent it needs for success in 2018 and beyond.