Happy Holidays and Happy New Year by Timothy Bakken

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Welcome to my first blog entry!  Please feel free to comment or provide suggestions for any immigration topic about which you would like more information.

As we approach another new year, we again are waiting to see if Congress will act on comprehensive immigration legislation.  Small signs suggest something could happen in the 2014 legislative session.  For example, the hiring by Representative Boehner of an immigration staffer formerly working on immigration issues with Senator McCain, who has historically supported immigration reform measures. Check The Hill article dated December 3rd 2013 for more information. 

Various news reports have noted the increasingly hopeful prospects for reform. Check the USA Today article dated December 16th 2013 for more information.    

As in past years, these signs of optimism could be squelched by the House of Representatives.  But, for now and as we anticipate a new year, those who favor fair and modern immigration policies should work to build on these positive signs and continue to encourage our Senators and Representatives to support comprehensive immigration reform. Check the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives web sites for more information about whom to contact. 

On a more nuts-and-bolts level, it is definitely not too soon to start preparing for the annual H-1B cap.  Petitions must be filed with CIS on April 1, 2014 to provide the best chance of being counted under this year’s cap.  Last year the cap was reached within the first week following the April 1 filing start date.  Accordingly, and with signs of an improving economy, I believe it is likely the cap will be reached very quickly, if not on the very first day.   Preparations for filing an H-1B petition require a great deal of work, including the filing of an LCA (Labor Condition Application) with the Department of Labor.  Issuance of an LCA takes at least 7 days, and thus waiting until April 1 to start H-1B petition preparations risks missing the cap altogether.  Please contact me if you have questions about the H-1B requirements and petition process, e-mail or by phone 303-293-1963.

 I wish everyone of you a happy holiday season and a very Happy New Year! 

Timothy R. Bakken