H-1B Visa Summary:
**Please note this is only a summary designed to give you an over view of the H-1B Program. The rules and regulations are extensive and complex and this summary does not encompass all of the rules regulating the program:
The H-1B Visa Program
This program allows for professionals holding a bachelor degree or higher or its equivalency to be sponsored by an employer for a nonimmigrant H-1B visa.
Requirements for H-1B status:
1. You or your employee must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree you MAY be able to obtain an equivalency using a high level or work experience with progressive responsibility in your field.
2. The bachelor’s degree (or its equivalency) must be related to the H-1B job. For example you cannot have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and be applying for job in accounting.
3. The H-1B job must be a specialty occupation (one that USCIS agrees requires a bachelor’s degree to do the work). Clear H-1B jobs are those such as engineer, accountant, lawyer, physician, architect, pharmacist and teacher. Jobs that are not clearly H-1B job are jobs in fields such as marketing, sales, business, food service management, real estate. For jobs that do not clearly qualify as H-1B positions, we would need to look at the level and complexity of the duties.
4. There must be an H-1B Visa available. For initial H-1B’s there is currently a cap of 65,000 per fiscal year with an additional 20,000 for applicants holding a U.S. Master’s Degree or higher. In the past few years the cap has been met in the first weeks of H-1B filing which begins on April 1 st for an H-1B position start date of October 1 st . There is often a lottery held for H-1B Visas in the first week of April if USCIS receives more than 65,000 applications at that time.
5. To qualify for H-1B status there must be a valid employer and employee relationship. Often there must be a Contract for Employment provided particularly in cases where the H-1B employee will be contracted to a 3 rd party employer. An H-1B Employee cannot self-petition.
6. H-1B petitions require that potential employers make very specific attestations as to the salary and working conditions. Employers must pay at or above prevailing wage in the area of employment for the H-1B position. There must be no labor disputes ongoing at the H-1B workplace. The Employer must provide the H-1B employee with working conditions and benefits so that there is not effect on non-H-1B employees.
7. If a license is required for the H-1B job then the worker must have obtained the license prior to filing for H-1B status.