According to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions were received during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advance degree exemption. The statutory H-1B cap for the fiscal year 2014 was reached by April 5, 2013; that is, less than a week after the application period opened on April 1st. USCIS had to use a lottery process to select the necessary number of petitions to meet the statutory quota amounts, and the non selected petitions were rejected and returned to the senders.
It is true that an H-1B application could be prepared in about two weeks, given that the employer (petitioner) and employee (beneficiary) have all the necessary information and supporting documents ready, and there are not problems with the Labor Condition Application (LCA), which is a step towards completing the H-1B petition. Nonetheless, this is not what usually happens.
Usually, the employer (petitioner) and future employee (beneficiary) work with an immigration attorney to find the right position that will both qualify for an H-1B application and match the duties of the job offered. Once the position an duties are determined, and the salary meets the prevailing wage requirements set by the State where the job will be performed, the employer will post a notice of the opening position and salary for 10 business days. After that, the attorney applies the LCA with the Department of
Labor. It takes at least a week to obtain an approval of the LCA, but it might take longer when it is the first time the employer is petitioning for an H-1B. Only after having all the supporting documents, the right forms completed and signed, the approved LCA and the correct filing fees the H-1B petition may be filed.
Therefore, keeping in mind that the H-1B preparation process may be lengthy one, it is advisable that foreigners who are willing to work in the U.S. start looking into preparing the H-1B petition at the beginning of 2014, so that the petition will be ready to file on April 1st, 2014.
Please note that not all H-1B petitions are subject to the statutory cap. If the employer is an institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations the H-1B petition has no cap. Also if the beneficiary, the employee, already holds an H-1B visa, he/she is not subject to the H-1B cap.
For more information on how to qualify for an H-1B please review How to Obtain Temporary Working Visa, H-1B, in the U.S. in