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The H-1B Visa Blog by Siliato and Malyk

Googling up H-1Bs?

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Perhaps indicating an upturn in economic news and a sign of good things to come, Google has recently announced that it plans to hire more than 2,000 people around the globe, as it expands into new markets and "wages a war for talent" with its rivals.

According to a Google spokesperson, the world's largest search engine company is looking for new opportunities to grow by branching out into a variety of markets, including Android smartphone software, online display advertising and Web-based productivity software. Moreover, according to some media reports, Google internally announced plans to give all of its employees a 10% salary increase in 2011, a move that many in the industry interpreted as an attempt to retain its best workers.* Could this portend into increased usage (indeed, an imminent exhaustion) of the remaining H-1B visa numbers?

According to USCIS's most recent count, as of November 12, 2010, approximately 47,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions were receipted. Additionally, USCIS has receipted 17,400 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees.

The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000 although not all H-1B non-immigrants are subject to this cap. Up to 6,800 of these visa numbers, however, may be set aside from the cap of 65,000 during each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the terms of the U.S.-Chile and U.S.- Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B use for the next fiscal year.* An additional 10,000 H-1B numbers are available to foreign nationals with U.S. advanced degrees.

Google announced that its current job openings are primarily full-time positions for engineers and sales staffers, with roughly half of them in the United States. Such job openings provide a window not only into the breadth of Google's operations across the globe, but highlights the need for large multi-national companies based in the U.S. to seek the best and the brightest professionals--many of whom are foreign nationals.

While the Google hiring is not necessarily a reflection of the overall employment picture, it may behoove employers who regularly make use of the H-1B program to capture (as soon as practicable) the remaining H-1B visa numbers before the quota is reached. Otherwise such employers will be left to wait until October 1, 2011 before the new H-1B quota becomes available.

For additional information and frequent updates on a variety of corporate and business-related immigration law issues, please click here to navigate to Meyner and Landis LLP's Corporate Immigration Law News Blog.

Post Authored By: Anthony F. Siliato, Esq. and Scott R. Malyk, Esq. of Meyner and Landis LLP

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