H-1B Visa for Temporary Employment
The H-1B visa is to grant permission for foreign workers to obtain temporary employment in the US. Part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, it is applicable to workers that are deemed to have a specialty occupation, requiring specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or work experience that is regarded to be the equivalent.
There is a quota on the number of H-1B visas that are issued per year and it is currently capped at 65,000, as stipulated by the US government. H-1B visas are relevant to a number of different working sectors including medicine, computer science/IT, maths and physical sciences, architecture, education, business and finance.
There is also a H-1A visa that is for nurses that work in the US but any other type of specialty occupation in healthcare would come under the H-1B criteria.
Requirements for H-1B visa
The foreign worker must have gained a bachelor’s degree or what is agreed to be the equivalent. The H-1B visa is valid for working for the sponsoring company and if the employee finishes working for the employer, their visa will no longer be valid and they must leave the US.
The degree requirement must be common across the industry due to the complexity of the job role. The worker must have completed a US bachelor’s degree that is required by the specific specialty occupation, or a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a bachelor’s degree (or higher).
Where the worker does not hold a bachelor’s degree, there will need to be evidence that they hold experience, qualifications, training and specialist knowledge in the area of specialty occupation.
How to apply for a H-1B visa
The employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) and the Form I-129 on behalf of the foreign worker. If the LCA is approved then the sponsoring company will receive a certified copy. The petitioner is then able to file for the H-1B visa using the Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker.
The form requires the company to provide information regarding the business, beneficiary information (name, address, DOB, US SSN), details of their last visit to the US. There are also a number of questions related to the work of the beneficiary. The form is 36 pages long and will take some time to complete and process. There is a filing fee that the sponsor will usually pay.
Evidence will be required to show that the beneficiary is suitably qualified for the specialty occupation and that the employment requires a specialty occupation to be performed to the required level. A copy of the employment contract is required, along with dates and places where the work will be taking place. The LCA should also be sent with the I-129 Form.
How long does a H-1B last?
The H-1B visa is granted for three years, although it is possible to extend up to six years if the applicant fits the criteria.
Dependents of H-1B visa holders
The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years old) of the H-1B visa holder can apply for H-4 visas.