Alternative Global Destinations for H-1B Cap Applicants

With H-1B Cap FY2019 applications being filed this week, only 85,000 petitions will be selected for adjudication. If this is an employee’s “last shot” at the H-1B Cap, many companies will consider transferring the employee to an office abroad.

Plan in Advance. Although there is generally a grace period for employees to remain in the US after their immigration status expires (ex. 60 days after EAD expires for F-1 students), we recommend planning backup options as far in advance as possible. Most countries take at least six to eight weeks to obtain work authorization. In addition, certain nationalities will require entry visas to the destination country after the work authorization approval.

Company Sponsored vs. Self-Sponsored Work Authorization. Depending on the employee’s nationality, an individual may be able eligible for a work permit without the company’s sponsorship. A common self-sponsored work authorization option is a working holiday visa, the availability of which depends on age, citizenship, and sometimes quotas. These working holiday visas are most often used in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the UK.

Common Alternatives to the US:

  • Canada: Often selected because of the shared time zones with the US. Generally, applicants with at least one-year seniority with the company and specialized knowledge of its business products, processes, and technology are eligible for an Intracompany Transfer (ICT) work permit.
  • Ireland: Employers would have to satisfy the €30,000 minimum base salary for the General Employment Permit.
  • UK: Regional European hub for many companies and convenient for European nationals to work without further work authorization. For non-European nationals, a minimum of one-year seniority is required for the Tier 2 Intracompany Transfer (ICT) work permit. Tier 2 ICT processing times are four to six weeks prior to entry to the UK.
  • Singapore: Attractive to companies because of the three-week processing time from the date of filing. Singapore is also a regional Asia Pacific hub for many multinational companies.

If you have questions about alternatives to the H-1B for a specific employee, please contact the Global Team ( to conduct a formal assessment.