Petitions for new H-1B visas are eligible to be filed on April 1, 2017, for federal FY 2018 beginning October 1, 2017. There are a limited number of new H-1B visas each year (65,000 and an additional 20,000 for foreign nationals with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher), which historically is used up within days of the start of the filing period. Last year, 236,000 applications were filed for the 85,000 slots. Now is the time to review your hiring needs.
Given the changing immigration landscape, you should also think about whether you want to file H-1B petitions for foreign students working on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and for employees working in TN or other treaty-based statuses who might be affected by upcoming changes and who you wish to retain.
There are considerable pre-filing requirements, so it is important to get started in order to meet the April 1st deadline.