April 1, 2009 is the first day that employers will be permitted to file H-1B petitions on behalf of foreign nationals. Given that Labor Condition Applications may take some time to be certified and the likely competition for one of the available 65,000 cap-subject H-1B slots, now is a good time to start planning the process of hiriing prospective candidates.
It would also be wise for employers and foreign-nationals to consider alternatives to the H-1B visa that may be available should a particular petition be rejected. All petitions received by a set deadline are usually placed in a lottery from which the 65,000 “winning petitions” are randomly selected for adjudication. Our firm and probably many others, will begin accepting cap-subject H-1B cases in early February to allow us the necessary time to process the petitions.