Origination Season. This time of year is about people. It's about our communities. It's able helping people secure access to the opportunities they've worked so hard to qualify for. And ultimately, it's about making sure that everyone, no matter what country they were born in, has the opportunity to succeed.
If you work with foreign nationals, you already know, having rock-solid sponsorship is everything. So brush up on the super important dates and guidelines of the most important time of year for this population, and they people they work with: Origination Season all you need to know.
Simple Guide to Origination Season
1) What is Origination Season?
Origination or Cap season is the yearly opportunity for foreign nationals to apply for a new H-1B visa.
When can candidates apply?
The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) accepts applications for the first 5 business days in April. This year the lottery will be open from Monday April 1st – Friday April 5th.
What is the lottery?
This is the system the USCIS uses to select the 85,000 H1B candidates from the more than 200,000 applicants they receive each year.
- H1B Regular Quota : 65,000 visas
- H1B Master’s Quota : 20,000 visas. ( only US Masters are eligible)
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts applications for the first 5 business days in April. This year the lottery will be open from:
Monday, April 1st – Friday, April 5th.
We send in all of our cases on Friday, March 29.
2) How does an OPT impact the application process?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study (more info about OPT here).
First consider how long the project is set to last. If a candidate has enough OPT time left, they may have the option to wait to apply for a visa. A Populus Group Immigration Specialist can advise you on if this year is appropriate to apply for the H1.
If a candidate chooses to apply for an H1, they will move from the OPT pricing calculator to an H1 calculator effective April 2nd.
3) Prevailing Wage: why is it important?
Prevailing wage is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in the area/physical address of intended employment. Prevailing wages are determined by the Department of Labor.
Why is this important?
Prevailing wages are important to know because:
- Prevailing wages aren’t applicable to OPT workers
- If a candidate is applying for an H1, their direct labor rate may need to be adjusted to meet prevailing wage.
A Populus Group Immigration Specialist will be able to advise you of the wage level needed to file.
4) Job Descriptions
USCIS is pushing back on many things this year, and one is the details in the job descriptions.
It is our legal team’s responsibility to file the best petition possible to USCIS so we can help ensure the H-1B visa application process goes smoothly.
What we need:
One of our Immigration Specialists can provide a list of the 10 exact questions that can make a sponsorship case strong. These questions are specific to the position and employer, and the more details, the better. This helps prevent issues with denials or a request for evidence (RFE).
Still have questions about H1 Originations?
We have an Immigration Specialist in your region and they will be happy to go over in more detail!