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If your clients are planning to sponsor a foreign worker on an H-1B visa, you might want to advise them to start preparing now.

H-1B visas allow employers to hire foreign workers with specialized knowledge or technical expertise, such as scientists, engineers, or computer professions. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B visas subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2014 cap on April 1.

The cap on H-1B visas for those with bachelor’s degrees is 65,000 with another 20,000 being given to workers with master’s or higher degrees obtained at universities in the United States. These caps are the same as last year. But while last year’s cap for those with bachelor’s degrees wasn’t met until June 2012, that cap is expected to be reached within the first week this year due to the demand for technology and the economy’s slow climb, according to Forbes.

A bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate that would increase the cap to 300,000, but it is not expected to be passed in time to impact this year’s application period. Most likely, this bill, along with the one introduced to create entrepreneur visas, will be wrapped into a more comprehensive immigration reform package.

Therefore, if your clients are hoping to apply for an H-1B visa, they will want to be sure to have their petition ready to go before April 1. Keep in mind that the petitions are accepted on the date they are received by the USCIS, not the date they are postmarked.

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