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One could easily have predicted that the number of H-1B visa applications would exceed the number of visas available to highly skilled foreign workers for the federal fiscal year of 2018.  Applications for FY2018 could be submitted as early as April 1, 2017, and within four business days thereafter 199,000 applications were received by the government.  Since there are only 85,000 total visas available Immigration Services stopped the intake and moved to the lottery process, which is still playing itself out.  Meeting the cap so quickly was not surprising at all.  But what was surprising is that only 199,000 applications were filed, since the previous two years saw closer to 235,000 applications made.

New H-1B visas are off the table for employers for FY2018, but there are other options.  The following is a brief summary of the options available.  Please contact Thompson Coe for further details regarding these visas.

L-1 (Intercompany Transfers):  If you have inter-company transfers from overseas this is your visa.

F-1 (Student Visas):  Foreign students are able to work off-campus up to 20 hours/week while they are studying in the U.S.  During breaks they can work full-time, and then after they graduate they can work full-time as well.  Graduates in STEM programs can work up to 29 months post-graduation, while non-STEM graduates can work 12 months.

TN (NAFTA):  Unless NAFTA is repealed, which does not seem as likely today as it might have a month ago, Canadians and Mexicans can receive TN visas so long as they are working in certain jobs.  The type of job needs to be very specific to the jobs allowed under the NAFTA treaty, and while most of them require a 4-year bachelor degree, not all do.

E-1/E-2 (International Investors):  Foreign nationals from certain countries that have treaties with the U.S. may qualify for this visa to come to the U.S. to oversee their business investments or to take part in their employer’s international trade.    

Thompson Coe and myHRgenius Tip of the Week is not intended as a solicitation, does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


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Kevin M. Mosher

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