Every year, hundreds of thousands of skilled graduates of various educational backgrounds apply for the opportunity to work in their field in the United States. The H1-B visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit and employ skilled professionals in specialty occupations and may be validated for a specific amount of time. In order to be considered for the H-1B, a foreign worker must demonstrate knowledge and experience in a highly specialized field, and an employer in the U.S. must be able to petition for them and demonstrate the ability to pay a commensurate wage. The process can be complex, but the immigration attorneys at FL-ILC can make it easier for you. Contact us at 1-800-666-4996 today to speak to an attorney about your case today.
Two important things to note are the cap and the timeline for an application. Every year, the government sets the cap at 65,000 H1-B visas to be approved during the fiscal year. Foreign workers with master’s degrees or higher, and within certain professional fields, are exempt from the cap. Secondly, the U.S. government’s fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. H-1B petitions can be filed up to 6 months before the start date, which is generally April 1 for an October 1 start date.
H-1B Requirements for Foreign Workers
In order to qualify for the H-1B Visa, foreign workers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and three years of post-graduate experience. In addition, their specialty occupation must be within a field of knowledge that is highly specialized.
Some of the fields include: IT, Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Scientific Research, Social Science, Biotechnology, HealthCare/Medicine, Education, Law, Accounting, Business, Theology, Arts, Computing, Finance, Accounting, Banking, Marketing, Sales, Recruiting, and Telecommunication. For a full list of the occupations, visit http://www.h1base.com/content/h1boccupations
If approved, the initial H-1B visa lasts three years. It may be renewed or extended thereafter for a period of 6 years.
H-1B Requirements for Employers
For a U.S. employer to petition for a foreign worker under the H-1B visa requirements, they must first submit an offer of employment to the alien beneficiary outlining the dates, and wages they will earn for that position. The job offer must be within the guidelines of the prevailing wage, which is listed in a database maintained by the Department of Labor (DOL website).
The employer must then file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the DOL, a form that will bind the employer to pay the prevailing wage, offer the same benefits to H-1B visa holders as other employees, and assure that employment of the alien will not negatively affect the conditions of other workers. The LCA process typically takes one week, and may require professional advice from an experienced immigration attorney.
Upon approval of the LCA, the H1-B petition will be filed with USCIS with the necessary documents, information, and fees. It will take between 2-4 months to be issued and adjudicated, although employers may pay a premium processing fee of $1225 to receive a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days.
Applying for the H-1B visa can be a stressful and complex process for both the employer and the foreign worker who simply wants to get to work. For assistance with your case, contact the FL-ILC today!