Although it may seem far off, the H-1B lottery opens up April 1, 2014 and employers should begin considering their options for potential H-1B workers or those currently in H-1B status in the United States. In the lottery which opened on April 1, 2013 (Fiscal Year 2014), the cap was met within the first five days of being opened and a lottery was then instituted to select the 65,000 applicants who would receive H-1B visas under the Bachelor’s Cap. With the House moving slowly on Comprehensive Immigration Reform it appears that H-1B applicants will again be subject to the H-1B cap lottery in Fiscal Year 2015 beginning April 1, 2014.
Employers should keep in mind the various options that exist if an intended H-1B employee is not selected in the lottery, including:
-E-1 Treaty Trader;
-E-2 Treaty Investor;
-E-3 for Australian Citizens;
-TN for Mexican and Canadian citizens;
-H-1B1 for Singaporean/Chilean citizens;
-L-1 Intra-company transfers; and
-O-1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability;
among others. Each of these categories provides the ability for foreign nationals to work in the United States with each having different criteria to be met. It’s important that employers understand that although their intended H-1B employee may not be selected in the H-1B lottery there are plenty of other options available.