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H1B1 Visas

If you’re an American employer, you can hire workers from Chile or Singapore. However, you first need to sign the papers for an H1B1 visa. The process is more difficult than you might imagine.

Before making any major decisions, there are a few details you should know. The visa isn’t for everyone. You should speak with an immigration lawyer to learn about the requirements for the visa and for guidance through the process. Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we can assist you in your quest for a work visa.

Who Is Eligible for an H1B1?

As mentioned above, an H1B1 visa is a work visa available to citizens of Singapore or Chile. However, there are many requirements for the visa. They need to be professionals with a four-year degree or the professional equivalent. Additionally, they need to be working in a specialty occupation and must only work for 18 months at a time.

Specialty Occupations

Most specialty occupations require a minimum of a four-year degree. But there are some exceptions. For examples, Chileans who are physical therapists and agricultural manager do not need a degree. Chileans and Singaporeans alike do not need degrees if they are disaster relief claims adjusters or management consultants with a degree in a specialty other than their profession.

Education isn’t the only requirement for a specialty occupation. For a job to qualify, it must require specific theoretical and practical knowledge. The workers should require thorough education and on-the-job training.

Family Members

If you come to the U.S. on an H1B1 visa, you don’t need to leave your family members behind. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany you. However, they are only eligible for the dependent H4 visa. This is an option whether or not the family members are citizens of Chile or Singapore.

Although your members can accompany you, they can’t work in the US. The H4 visa does not permit the visa holder to gain employment. It does, however, allow them to study while on U.S. soil.

How Can You Get the Visa?

If your worker is in need of this visa, they have two choices. The first option is to make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy anywhere outside of the US. They must show the necessary documents and request the visa. Typically, this takes about two or three weeks.

The second option is for individuals already in the country with legal status. In this scenario, the worker can ask their employer to mail the visa request to the USCIS. However, this method takes longer. It takes approximately four to six months for the USCIS to process the request, and there is no way to speed up the decision. The worker cannot work until the visa is approved. For that reason, most employers don’t use this option.

Labor Condition Application

There’s another step in the visa process, and only the employer can complete this step. The employer needs to get a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certified for the potential employee.

To receive the LCA, the employer needs to go to the Department of Labor. However, few employers are aware of the process. You can turn to an immigration lawyer and receive guidance. They can do the work for you.

Limitations with H1B1 Visas

There are many challenges facing those who have or need H1B1 visas. First, there’s the cap on visas. Every year, there is a limit to how many H1B1 visas are issued. According to the Chile and Singapore Free Trade Agreement, the USCIS can only give out 6,800 H1B1 visas each year to Singaporeans and Chileans. This doesn’t include their spouses and children.

Typically, that limit is not reached. But it is a possibility and one of which you should be aware of. Another limit does often affect other visa applicants — a limit on dual intent visas.

Single intent visas only allow the worker to stay in the country on a temporary basis. The H1B1 is a single intent visa. But the H1B  is a dual intent visa. This type of visa allows you to apply for a green card while on the visa. Every year, there is an H1B lottery. Only a few of the applicants receive the visa.

Another limitation is the timeline. At American port of entries, immigration officers rely on a 600-page rule book. That rule book dictates the rules of admission for all visas, including the H1B1 visa. According to the rules, H1B1 visa holders can only remain in the country for a maximum of one year. That timeline can be less if the LCA is not for the full year.

Renewing the Visa

Unlike certain visas, the H1B1 is renewable under certain conditions. In fact, it is indefinitely renewable as long as you can show that you do not intend to remain in the U.S. permanently. This means you need to have no pending green cards and you do have ties to your home country. Usually, the government only issues about five or six H1B1s before suspecting an intent of permanency.

To renew the visa, an employer can mail in the renewal. The renewal takes between four and six months, so the employer must do it in advance of the visa’s expiration. The other option is for the applicant to ask for one at a U.S. Embassy in another country.

Why Should You Work with an Immigration Lawyer?

The visa process can be quite complex. Whether you are an employer or a potential employee, you are likely to encounter many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is a lack of understanding of visa options and requirements.

By speaking with an attorney, you can learn more about your options and the process. They can give you a better understanding of what employers and applicants need to do. After they explain the process, they can take you through it.

If you don’t want to face the challenges of obtaining a visa alone, you can work with the Florida Immigration Law Counsel. Our firm has the experience necessary to guide you and help you accomplish your immigration goals. Contact us today for more details.

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