H-1B Cap Season: Potential Risks of Prepping Last-Minute Applications

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Paying the wrong wage
  • Eleventh-hour education evaluations
  • Late LCA application

H-1B Cap Season is months away. You’ll have plenty of time to prepare your petitions before the April 1 deadline, right? Maybe not.

HR professionals are busy with planning budgets, onboarding new hires, trying new employee engagement tools, planning benefits and assessing employee performance. That means most aren’t dedicated solely to the immigration process. Come next year when you start the H-1B application process, you might lack time to prepare those petitions and handle  the rest of your workload.

Here are other potential risks if you wait until the last minute.

Eleventh-Hour Education Evaluations

In our experience, it’s not uncommon for an individual to have a foreign or non-four-year degree. This means an education evaluation must be conducted. This adds time to the process.

In some cases, the applicant doesn’t have a traditional degree, yet has many years of work experience. This requires an experience evaluation — another aspect that takes time.

Did you know? Three years of work experience is equivalent to one year of study.

By starting early, you give yourself and your immigration services provider ample time to obtain the proper evaluations, if needed, to ensure your petition will pass scrutiny if it makes the cap.

Paying the Wrong Wage

H-1B fees have been popular in the news, as USCIS is increasing its fees and the Department of Labor (DOL) has clarified payment surrounding the Labor Condition Application. The fear is non-compliance, so it’s important to pay the proper wage to your H-1B employee, and it’s not always the prevailing wage. In fact, employers must pay the required wage, which comes into play if the base pay for people employed in the same role at your company is higher. That higher wage is the required wage.

Confusing? Compliance can be a tricky endeavor, so make sure you’re not rushing to find the right partner and not meeting the right compliance standards as a result of working with an inexperienced provider.

Late LCA Application

The Labor Condition Application is a very important part of the H-1B process. To file your petition on April 1 deadline, you need an approved LCA. The DOL takes seven days to process the application, which means the application must be filed by March 20. And in its busy cap season, the time frame can go up to 10 days. Don’t wait too long to file. That might result in an incomplete H-1B application in April.

Inadequate Employer Letters

An employer letter of support is a crucial, foundational part of the H-1B application process. It’s a formal attestation of why your company needs to sponsor the applicant. It includes pertinent company information, such as financials and an explanation of the open position. This letter must be crafted carefully, and starting the petition late may not give your attorney ample time to craft a strong one.

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