Working in the United States can bring forth amazing opportunities for many individuals. But in order to take advantage of the best opportunities available, it is important that you work in America as a legal citizen; what you need to do is to obtain your temporary work visa. Typically this may be a H1B visa.
What is H1B Visa?
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit & employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations within the USA for a specified period of time. The H-1B program provides the opportunity for foreign workers in specialty occupations to legally live and work in the US for a total of 6 consecutive years, and entitles their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to accompany them and legally live in the USA on an H-4 visa (although their spouse and children cannot work unless they obtain their own work visa).
In the H-1B petition process, the employer is the petitioner, while the foreign worker is the beneficiary. Foreign individuals themselves cannot apply for an H-1B visa to allow them to work in the US. The number of H-1B visas issued each year is subject to an annual cap that is determined by the US Congress.
The H-1B filing period begins on April 1st every year, and closes as soon as USCIS receives sufficient petitions to meet the annual H-1B visa cap of 85,000.Once the cap is reached, the filing period will be closed and will open again on April 1st during the next fiscal year.
Cap-exempt H-1B petitions, such as H-1B transfers, change of employers and petitions from qualified exempt organizations can be filed at any time during the year.
H1B Visa Requirements
As a general rule foreign workers must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. But exceptions can be made if you have a certain amount of experience working in your field.
Occupations that qualify for H-1B visas typically require highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including; IT, Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Scientific Research, Social Science, Biotechnology, Healthcare/Medicine, Education, Law, Accounting, Business, Theology, Arts, Computing, Finance, Banking, Marketing, Sales, Recruiting, and Telecommunication.
Aside from the requirement that the position be a specialty occupation, the employer must first file labor Condition Application (LCA), Form ETA 9035 or Form ETA 9035E, with the Department of Labor (DOL). An employer filed LCA attests that the H-1B visa worker is being paid the prevailing wage for the work being performed, and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
One of the privileges of the H-1B visa, as opposed to many other non-immigrant visas, is that it is a ‘dual intent’ visa. In other words, under the terms of the H-1B visa, the alien employee can also apply for a Green Card and become a permanent resident, and the H-1B visa will not be denied or invalidated. If an employer is willing, the employer can sponsor a foreign employee in H-1 status for a green card application.
Significantly, once an employer has brought a foreign worker to the U.S. on the basis of an H-1B visa, if the company should dismiss that worker before the expiration of the visa, the company is responsible for any ticket costs that the worker incurs traveling back to his/her place of last foreign residence. This provision is dependent upon dismissal and is not relevant if a worker chooses to resign.
If a foreign worker in H-1B status resigns or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status; find another employer (subject to application for change of visa); or leave the United States.