H1B Analysis for 2008

Posted on March 02, 2008 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Analysis of H-1B Applications in 2008

April is coming and the H-1B quota will open once again.  Most aliens who want to work in the US legally have been preparing their H-1B applications.  As one of the non-immigrant visas, H-1B is for professional aliens who specialize in high-tech industries and other fields.  It requires that the alien specialist hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.  In addition, the US employer needs to provide a position related to the alien’s educational background.  Generally speaking, the initial expiration date of the H-1B status is three years.  As the expiration date approaches, you can extend the status for another three years, but the total time cannot exceed six years.  The greatest advantage of the H-1B visa is that dual intent is allowed when applying.  For example, H-1B holders can apply for a green card while they’re on an H-1B status.  Therefore, H-1B is the preferred choice for most alien students who want to stay and work in the US permanently.

Due to this advantage, there are numerous aliens who file H-1B applications in the US.  However, the H-1B quota is very limited.  Currently, the H-1B quota is only 65,000 for each fiscal year, and 6,800 of them are allotted to Singaporean and Chilean workers according to free trade treaties.  Although there is a separate quota of 20,000 for aliens who hold master degrees, the total is still no more than 85,000.  Compared to the hundreds of thousands of applicants, 85,000 is far from being enough.  This is the reason for which the H-1B cap was reached in one day last year.  In order to solve the problem, many Employers’ Associations and Attorney Associations tried their best to lobby Congress to increase the H-1B quota substantially.  They hope this can solve the problem of labor shortage and release the pressure caused by the quota shortage.  Recently, however, both political parties have been busy with the upcoming presidential election, and Congress has not shown any intentions of increasing the H-1B quota.  Thus, the battle for the H-1B quota is about to start.

Besides the pressure due to the quota shortage, aliens who wish to apply for H-1B status face more pressure than before because of the recession caused by the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  The US government has not come up with an effective way of reducing the influence of the recession until now.  Under such circumstances, many employers’ demands on alien workers have decreased.  At the same time, in order to guarantee employment to Americans and avoid a possible social crisis caused by economic depression, the government may strengthen the auditing on employers that hire alien workers.  Thus, the situation will be tougher this year for H-1B applicants.

How can aliens cope with this difficult situation? According to our years of experience, H-1B applicants can prepare in the following ways:

  1. Try your best to prepare material carefully and completely.  This may avoid the denial of your H-1B application due to insufficient material.
  2. There are some exceptions to certain H-1B applications, meaning that they are excluded from the quota limitation.  For example, if the employer is an institution of higher education, or a non-profit organization related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, the beneficiary can be exempt from the quota restriction.  This is very important for H-1B applicants who choose these organizations as their sponsors.  Furthermore, their positions are not limited to teaching or research.  Jobs such as software engineer for these organizations are also acceptable.

Additionally, it is also a good choice to work for enterprises that have research contracts with the US government, because the beneficiaries will also be exempt from the quota restriction.

In a word, 2008 will be a tough year for H-1B applicants.  H-1B applicants should be aware of this and make extra efforts to prepare in advance in order to increase the possibility of successfully receiving an H-1B visa.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.