As we’ve all come to know, H-1Bs are at best, a complete crap shoot. Weeks or months of preparation are put forth only to have about a 25% chance of random selection for processing. If you begin your preparation in February of 2017 and submit your petition on April 1, 2017, your best case scenario is that your case is accepted for processing and you can begin working on October 1, 2017. However, if you’re not accepted for processing, you’ll learn about this in May or June and then, even if you reapply the following year, the soonest that one could begin working in H-1B status is October 1, 2018. This is very unpredictable for both employers and their prospective employees.
My suggestion is to forgo the H-1B process and move straight into the PERM (labor certification). Why? Because its a more predictable process and the reward is much greater. At the end of the rainbow (even though it’s further away) is a green card as opposed to a three year employment visa. The PERM could be started at any time regardless of where the foreign beneficiary is and whether they’ve ever worked for the prospective employer.
The process is longer, more expensive and entails a number of additional steps and requirements, but it has the potential to provide a permanent, rather than temporary solution. As some of our employer clients are receiving their H-1B packages back, having been rejected because they were not randomly selected for processing, they are following our advice to concentrate on the labor certification process. We will see what the coming months and years bring to the H-1B program as the current administration has proposed changes that it would make it even more restrictive than it is currently.