The H1B visa is a specialty work visa. It allows companies to sponsor and hire outside of the US. It is one of the more popular work visas, but there is a lot that goes into applying and receiving the H1B.
- The job itself must qualify as a specialty occupation. This can be satisfied in any of these four ways:
- The job requires a bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent from an accredited university of college
- The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
- In order to qualify for the specialty occupation, the person must satisfy one of these four criteria:
- Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
- Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
- Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
- Have education, training, or experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and be recognized as an expert in the specialty
The next important step is for the employer to apply for the Labor Condition Application (“LCA”). The LCA is in place to make sure that US jobs and workers are not being negatively impacted. By applying for the LCA, the employer must affirm that they are complying with wage and labor laws, that they have notified their employees that an LCA was filed, and there is no strike or lockout in the occupation.
There are many benefits to the H1B. The most basic being that you can live and work in the US. You can bring your immediate family with you under an H4 visa. You can buy real estate and invest. The H1B is normally issued for three years, but can be extended up to six years. One of the most important benefits is that you can have “dual intent” with an H1B. “Dual intent” means that although you have an nonimmigrant visa, which only allows a temporary stay in the US, you don’t have to intend to stay temporarily. You can intend to stay and apply (if possible) for permanent resident status.
The one downside of the visa, is that there is a limit on how many visas are distributed each year. Currently, the cap is at 65,000.
If you are interested in applying for an H1B or have questions about it, please contact our office at (508) 438-1198.