Who is eligible for an H-1B Visa – Work Visas – Sponsorship

August 2, 2019

H-1B Visas

An H-1B visa, known as the “professional worker’s visa,” is reserved for people within “specialty occupations,” who are considered for admission on the basis of their professional education or their skills, or both. It permits U.S. companies to enhance their workforce by employing highly skilled foreigners. It is the most common and, usually, the easiest non-immigrant visa to obtain.

Who is eligible for an H-1B Visa

* College degree holders or higher, or
* Its equivalent in work experience, or
* In rare instances, certain people in specific occupations, such as supermodels, and
* A job offer from a U.S. company that agrees to sponsor the visa holder, and
* In a position with the sponsoring company that requires the person to hold a four-year degree or its equivalent in experience and the wage paid is the prevailing wage for such a job within that jurisdiction

The spouse and unmarried, minor children of the H-1B visa holder are eligible for H-4 visas, though they will not be permitted to work in the US.

What are the Limitations of H-1B visa

The visa is good for a maximum of three years, which may be extended another three years. After six years in H-1B status, the person must remain outside the United States for one year before being eligible to apply for another H-1B visa.

The visa-holder may only work for the sponsoring employer in the job specified in the sponsoring employer’s petition. If visa holders wish to change jobs, they must obtain a new H1-B visa. This can be done without leaving the United States by filing a new petition with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

With the October 17, 2000 enactment of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000, applicants may begin working at their new job immediately upon filing the petition. Previously, applicants had to wait for approval before beginning work for their new employer. If the new petition is denied, work authorization ceases.

The number of visas issued had been set at 65,000, but was increased to 115,000 through legislation for the year 2000. The 2000 Act extended the limit to 195,000 for each of the next three years. Furthermore, Section 103 of the Act provides that H-1B visas sponsored by higher education institutions, nonprofit research organizations and government research organizations are not to be counted toward the cap.

What is the procedure to get H-1B Visa?

# The sponsoring employer must first inquire at a state or local level what the prevailing wage is for the position expected to be filled by the visa holder.
# Sponsoring employer files a labor condition application with the U.S. Department of Labor that outlines specific information about the job, including the prevailing wage and the working conditions.
# Sponsoring employer then files an I-129 petition with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) accompanied by a $110 filing fee, as well as an additional $500 fee imposed under the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.
# Once the INS approves the I-129 petition, the visa seeker may then apply for the H-1B visa.
Steps To Take
An employer files a labor attestation, Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application for H-1B Nonimmigrant, with the U.S. Labor Department Employment and Training Administration. Once the employer gets approval from the Labor Department, the employer then files the following with the Immigration and Naturalization Service:
# A INS Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, along with a $110 filing fee
# A INS Form I-129W, which allows the INS to record statistical information as required by the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA)
# A fee, as required under the ACWIA: $1000 now, $500 before December 17, 2000
# The approved labor attestation from the Labor Department
# Proof of the alien’s academic qualifications and professional experience
# A letter from the sponsoring company describing its business and the job it intends to fill with the H-1B visa recipient, why the alien is particularly qualified, and including a statement that the company will pay the costs of the alien’s return trip abroad if employment is terminated before the visa authorization period expires.

Once the company receives approval from the INS, the prospective H-1B visa holder should then apply for the visa at the nearest U.S. consulate by filing:
# An optional Form 156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
# A passport photograph
# The original H-1B approval notice receipt issued to the company by the INS

Work Visas

There are several kinds of visas that allow you to work in the United States. Some of these visas are non-immigrant visas that are issued for fixed time periods and usually specific jobs, and the rest are permanent residence visas – green cards – that allow you work any job and become a U.S. citizen.

Non-Immigrant Visa

The most common and easiest to obtain non-immigrant visa is the H-1B professional person’s visa. If you have a college degree or higher and have a job offer from a U.S. company that will sponsor you, you can obtain an H-1B visa. The visa traditionally takes around 30 days to obtain, is valid for one to three years, is renewable, and requires that you work only for the sponsoring company. If you want to change jobs, you will need to obtain a new H-1B visa.

If you come from a country that has a treaty of navigation with the U.S. – such as any country from the European Union – you can obtain an E-2 visa that allows you to start your own business in the U.S. The business must be well capitalized, with at least $25,000, and not represent your only source of income. You can also obtain the E-2 visa in roughly 30 days. The H-1B and the E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas that can be converted to permanent residence visas.

There are also visas for people of unique abilities such as professional athletes and scientists.

An investment visa allows you to invest $500,000 in a business in a rural area or $1,000,000 in an urban area. The investment visa is a permanent residence visa.

If you do not have a college degree or skills that are in demand, such as computer software engineering or nursing, you must have a job offer with a U.S. company that is willing to sponsor you for a labor certification. This process takes many years to complete but leaves you with a green card.

Why Visas Are Denied
The immigration laws of the United States, in order to protect the health, welfare, and security of the U.S., prohibit the issuance of a visa to certain applicants.

Examples of applicants who must be refused visas are those who:
* Have a communicable disease, or have a dangerous physical or mental disorder.
* Have committed serious criminal act.
* Are terrorists, subversives, members of a totalitarian party, or former Nazi war criminals.
* Have used illegal means to enter the U.S.

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