On February 24, 2015 the USCIS published the final rule allowing certain H-4 status holders to apply for work authorization (EAD). Eligibility is limited to circumstances where the primary H-1B holder has an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition or has already been approved for a 7th year extension under the American Competitiveness in the Workforce (AC21) rules. The new rule goes into effect on May 26, 2015. USCIS will not accept applications filed prior to this date.
H-1B Cap-subject petitions can be filed on April 1, 2017 for an October 1, 2017 start date. It is anticipated that the numbers will go quickly this year – possibly within a few weeks or days. There are 85,000 cap numbers – 65,000 regular cap and 20,000 for those with a U.S. Masters Degree. When more than the 85,000 cap is received USCIS will randomly select from the applications.
For this reason it is important to make plans early if you have an employee on Optional Practical Training who needs to obtain H-1B status, or foreign national you wish to hire who has never worked for a cap subject company.
Contact us about starting the process so that you will be ready to file on April 1st.