Oftentimes, an employer may have difficulty finding an employee to fill a highly specialized position.  The employer may have better luck widening the scope of employment globally.

The H-1B visa allows a United States employer to temporarily fill a permanent position by hiring a foreign national for the job.  The H-1B visa can only be used for a specialty occupation, which is the application of highly specialized knowledge using a bachelor’s degree or higher.  In some circumstances, experience of the foreign national in the field of work may qualify in lieu of a degree.

The U.S. employer acts as the sponsor for the person proceeding with their immigration documents to enter the U.S. and fill the open position.  The employer, as sponsor, must prove an employer/employee relationship with the individual by showing the power to hire, fire, pay and supervise the employee.  By sponsoring the foreign national, the employer pays the legal and application fees for the individual’s H-1B visa.

A cap of 65,000 H-1B work visas are available each year.  Persons who possess a U.S. earned master’s degree or higher qualify for an additional 20,000 visas offered for H-1B status.  Visas for spouses and children joining the potential employee do not count towards the cap.  Submission of an H-1B application is open on April 1st of each year.  The H-1B fiscal year starts on October 1st of the same year, which is the beginning date of employment allowed after a visa application is approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 H-1B status is given in up to 3 year increments and can be extended for a maximum of six years.  If the individual shows impressive promise, the employer may assist the individual in applying for permanent residency in the United States.  For more information on our immigration practice, please contact Dana Rifai at rifai@bcclegal.com.

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