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H-1B season (and 2 more employment updates)

H1-B petitions for fiscal year 2018 will be accepted by USCIS starting April 1, 2017.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in professions that are considered specialty occupations. These are fields that require entrants to hold at least a bachelor's degree. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, engineers, computer programmers, software engineers, financial analysts, and marketing research analysts are just a few of the professionals who qualify for H-1B visas.

The congressionally-mandated cap on H-1B visas for fiscal year 2018 is 65,000. Last year, the USCIS received more than three times this many applications in the first week. The agency was required to hold a lottery to determine which petitions would be accepted.

If you are considering hiring H-1B employees and will need to file an H-1B petition for them, we recommend that you contact BKR immediately. H-1B petitions must be filed during the first five business days in April.
Please note: there are an additional 20,000 H-1B petitions that may be filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
New rule for E-visa non-immigrant workers
On Jan. 17, 2017, DHS changed how it regulates E-visas.
A new rule, called, " “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers," allows the agency to automatically extend the length of time that an Employment Authorization Document (EAD - Form I-766) is valid.
 In order to qualify for the automatic extension, employees must:
 - file their EAD renewals on time
 - apply to renew their EADs in the same category in which they received their originals
 - apply in a category that is eligible for the extension
If you have questions about how this new rule can affect you, don't hesitate to contact BKR.
Easing of requirements for international entrepreneurs
Before Jan. 17, 2017, anyone who wanted to apply for an entrepreneurial visa to the U.S. had to be able to prove that he or she was an entrepreneur who had received "significant U.S. capital investment or government funding" to form a start-up.
Now, thanks to a new rule issued by USCIS, people who don't quite meet the requirements can still apply and be considered by the agency if they can show evidence that their start-up is likely to "provide a significant public benefit" to the U.S. This would include the business' its ability to create jobs and grow rapidly.
If you're interested in learning more, please don't hesitate to contact the attorneys at BKR.

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