What is the H-1B Visa?
Over the past decade, lawmakers have made serious efforts to slow the exodus of skilled labor, specifically foreign nationals who have been educated in the United States, from our shores. While each attempt has seen minor success, a new bill that comes directly on the heels of President Obama’s Immigration Reform of 2014 could be a considerable leap forward – especially for those working in the tech or science industries. Known as the Immigration Innovation Bill of 2015, or the I-Squared bill, the Bill focuses primarily on H-1B visas and those highly skilled laborers who struggle to remain in the country after securing their degrees.
H-1B visas allow foreign workers in specialty occupations to work in the United States temporarily. It is a highly coveted visa program that is regularly used by engineers, scientists and business specialists who wish to travel to the United States and work here. These types of workers must have authorization from a sponsoring employer, they must be highly educated, and they must have unique skills.
An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers temporarily. Not all types of employers qualify and not all types of jobs meet the many requirements for obtaining an H-1B visa. First, you must prove that you have an employer-employee relationship. The company that hired you can help you meet this requirement by proving that they can hire, fire, pay, and supervise you. In many cases, it only takes the written word of the sole or majority owner to establish a valid employer-employee relationship.
Next, your attorney must prove that your job qualifies as a specialty occupation. The H-1B visa program was created to allow foreigners with special skills to work in the United States. Therefore, you will have to show that your job requires a bachelor's degree or higher. You attorney must prove that you have a degree requirement for the position and that the job is so complex that it requires a degree.
H-1B visas allow employers in the United States to hire skilled workers from foreign countries. H-1B visas help companies fill skilled positions with foreign workers, but not all skilled workers are accepted. According to a recent CNBC news report, applications for H-1B visas have increased dramatically in recent years and they are expected to keep growing. There were at least 160,000 applications for H-1B visas in 2013 despite there being only 65,000 cap and 20,000 cap exempt visas available. Our office will be submitting all of our H-1B applications on April 1 for fear that anyone applying on April 2 will find there are no H-1B visas left.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there were 134,000 petitions in 2012 and 124,000 in 2013. H-1B visas only go to workers with specialty skills. So, many speculate that the large number of applications this year reflects a lack of computer science and math graduates in the United States. Companies such as Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, IBM, Deloitte Consulting, and Microsoft are reaching out to skilled foreign workers to fill important positions.
In our notable case for October 2013, both the company who hired us and its employee were very scared that their H1B renewal would be denied. So many H1B renewals are receiving a request for evidence and notice of intent to deny that it is no longer considered a routine matter.
In fact, many immigration attorneys charge the same amount for the renewal as they do for the first initial H1B visa. At the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C., our legal team is extraordinarily successful in these cases because we work very closely with the company. Sometimes, we have to insist on making changes to job titles or job descriptions to more accurately reflect the work employee is doing. We have found that many employees have simply inherited job descriptions that may be four, five, six, or even more years older and that do not accurately reflect the work they do today.
If you are an entrepreneur or worker seeking to enter the United States to do business, you have a wealth of options from which to choose. Which visa is best for your situation depends on what skills you have, why you are visiting the United States, and how long you wish to stay. Your experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney can help you determine exactly which visa is right for you.
An H-1B “specialty occupation” visa is often appropriate for individuals who plan to work for the business they start in the United States. In order to qualify for such a visa, the worker must meet several requirements. An H-1B visa is typically good for up to three years, though an extension may be granted that increases the total period of stay to six years. In some cases, an extension beyond six years may be granted.
Whenever a worker wants us to do an H1B for him or her, we insist that the employer comply with the strengthened USCIS regulations that require the employer to pay for all of the attorney and government processing fees. And, despite the nervousness of our clients at this news, we always succeed.
Employers want to abide by the law, cut through administrative delay, and just get their job done. When we tell them they will have to pay our fees – – which average out to only be $100 or so per month for the lifespan of that worker’s H1B – – the employers agree. We then help them cut through the administrative delay with our expertise.
November is likely to be the last month that H1B's will be available. If you don't apply now, you will not be able to work under an H1B until October 1, 2012. See the 5 Tips for H1B Applicants: http://goo.gl/wrPEl