Bar News - June 9, 2006
Alert on Immigration of Skilled Workers
By: George Bruno
While the immigration debate rages in Washington, DC and across the nation, centered mainly on a guest worker visa for unskilled workers, lost in the discussion is the need for executives, professionals, specialty workers and other skilled workers not currently available in the US work force. This includes language professors, chemists, engineers, ethnic food chefs and other skilled workers, all falling under the H1B visa category.
As of April 28, 2006, the US Immigration and Citizenship Service (formerly the INS) reports 16,737 cases were filed against the 2007 Fiscal Year H1B cap, starting October 1, 2006. The congressionally established H1B cap is 58,200 for FY 07, which represents a cap of 65,000, less 6,800 visas set aside under the US-Chile and US-Singapore Free Trade Agreements.
All H1B candidates are required to have the equivalent of a US bachelorís degree. In a separate category of advanced degree H1B visas, 2,884 cases have been filed against a cap of 20,000 in FY2007.
If this pace continues, the H1B cap could be met in July 2006, and the advanced degree cap in September 2006. Immigration experts are expecting that there will be a surge in filings in May and June 2006, as more foreign nationals graduate and become eligible for H1B filings under the advanced degree and regular quotas. Amazingly, these visas could be exhausted for the year even before the 07 FY begins. Therefore, lawyers who advise companies that seek to employ foreign skilled employees should urge them to file an H1B petition now. When the cap is reached, there will be no further H1B visas available until October 1, 2007 under the current program. A number of firms in NH perform this type of service.
This is an advisory note from the NH Bar Association, International Law Section, George Bruno, Chair. Attorney Bruno may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 603-296-2222.