The H-1B visa is designed to allow foreign nationals to temporarily work in the United States in a position that utilizes “specialized knowledge” which the foreign national possesses. April 1, 2014 was the first day that petitions for a first-time H-1B visa could be accepted for processing by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Just six days later, USCIS formally announced that petitions for more than the full allotment of 85,000 H-1B visas had been received. No more first-time applications will be accepted until April 1, 2015 unless within a very narrow group of exempted organizations – such as colleges and universities.
Employers wishing to hire foreign nationals as new employees will now need to examine other non-immigrant and/or immigrant visa options to see what alternatives might be available.
Please note that foreign nationals on existing H-1B visas wishing to extend their visa status beyond the original term allowed are not subject to this numerical limitation. Nor are those foreign nationals with existing H-1B visas that change employers. The cap only applies to first-time petition requests.