U.S. employers have the legal ability to temporarily employ foreign workers from abroad through the H1-B visa program. This visa is a way for employers to broaden their talent pool and hire job candidates in specialty occupations. In reality, the H1-B visa program is not automatic. These spots are coveted. If you happen to win a lottery for a spot, you want to make sure that your application contains no mistakes so it is not rejected.
There are 85,000 H1-B visas available. Every year, over 200,000 people apply for these spots. 20,000 H1-B visa spots are reserved for applicants with Master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. university.
For the rest of the 65,000 work visas, there are strict requirements that apply:
The usual company that applies for an H1-B visa is one that needs to fill a certain position for a temporary period of time that they may be unable to fill with U.S. workers. The approval is based partially on the position itself and partially on the person proposed by the employer to fill the position. In other words, even if the position is eligible for the H1-B visa program, not anyone can be selected to fill it. USCIS will take a close look at the applicant to ensure that they meet the qualifications for the program. Every year, there are some applicants who are not approved for visas, even though there is a high approval rate in general once the lottery slot is won.
One of the key questions is what is considered a specialty application for purposes of the H1-B visa program. The H1-B position must require a bachelor’s degree; not only that, but you will usually need a specific type of degree to work in that profession. Examples of these positions include:
The H1-B program can be a valuable tool for companies, especially those that are in the STEM field. It is a way to recruit qualified workers when the employer may struggle to fill the job domestically.
Not every H1-B application is approved. Common reasons why an H1-B application may be denied include:
The good news is that USCIS will usually not deny the H1-B application without any warning. First, they will issue a Request for Evidence before they deny the application. This request tells you that USCIS has concerns that you need to address, or else the application will be denied. If you receive a Request for Evidence and you do not yet have an attorney, it is important to hire one.
In addition, because you have invested so much in the process, you must continuously comply with the H1-B program rules. The H1-B employee’s working conditions and the effects on U.S. employees are key issues that the government cares about deeply.
If your business is considering the H1-B visa program, it is best to invest time at the outset to ensure that you do not make any mistakes. Even though H1-B rules usually remain the same, the way that USCIS interprets and applies those rules can change over time and change back again. You will benefit from an immigration attorney who knows the agency and stays on top of the most recent developments.
We can help if you are seeking an H1-B visa. Call us today or send us a message online to learn what we can do to move your process forward. Complex visa programs such as the H1-B mean that you need the assistance of an experienced lawyer.