What Is H-1B Visa And Who Qualifies for It?

Alien workers are eligible to come to the U.S. in a specialty occupation under nonimmigrant visa category known as H-1B. The fact that specialty occupations (which include positions in the Arts, Business, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Architecture, Accounting, Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Social Sciences, Computers and Information Technology, and theology) require a specialized knowledge of a certain body of theoretical and practical material makes it imperative for such foreign workers to possess a baccalaureate degree as a minimum requirement for entry into the U.S. labor force.

Is There An Annual Cap on H-1B Visas?

Yes, there is a limit on the number of H-1B visas that can be issued each fiscal year, which begins in October every year, and it is 65,000 with additional 20,000 for those with Graduate (Masters) degrees and no limit for nonprofit Organizations, Universities and Colleges, and Government Research Laboratory Agencies. As a result, petitioner/applicants should endeavor to complete and file their applications with relevant government agency as soon as the required documents are assembled.

How Can Foreign Nationals Show That They Qualify For H-1B Visas?

Foreign applicants must show that they have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelorís degree, and that they have an offer of employment from a qualified U.S. employer willing to act as an H-1B sponsor.

Who Qualifies As U.S. Employer?

U.S. immigration law defines an employer as ďa person or entity who engages the services or labor of an employee to be performed in the United States for wages or other remuneration.Ē

What Are The Obligations Of A U.S.Employer Sponsoring An H-1B Alien Worker?

The U.S. sponsor must make a written commitment in a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to:

Pay the H-1B employee the prevailing wage for the position being offered;

Provide the same working conditions for H-1B employees as for other workers;

If Dependent Employer, recruit and not displace U.S. workers by hiring foreign nationals with H-1B visas; and

Agree to abide by DOL regulations or be subject to payment of back wages, penalties, and exclusion from immigration programs.

What Is The Process For Applying For An H-1B Visa?

The sponsoring U.S. employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) confirming that the employee will be paid the prevailing wage for that position and be offered certain working conditions, among other items. The DOL certifies the LCA and returns it to the employer, who then files form I-129 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security.

What Documents Are Required For H-1B Visa?

Applying for an H-1B visa requires the following documents:

1.                       The LCA, which is signed by the sponsoring employer;

2.                       The H-1B petition itself (Form I-129 with H supplement), also signed by the employer;

3.                       A letter from the sponsoring employer describing the nature of its business and the duties of the position being offered; and

4.                       Copies of the alienís resume, diplomas, certificates relevant to the alienís training, and letters from previous employers indicating the time employed and the nature of whatever duties were performed.