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The H-1B is a temporary (non-immigrant) employer-sponsored visa for professional workers. The H-1B can be issued for up to 3 years, and then extended for an additional three years, for a total of six years in H-1B status. Thereafter, an employer must have started the green card process on behalf of the H-1B employee for extensions beyond this period.
The Twin Cities business immigration firm The Law Firm of Craig J. Peterson L.L.C. assists employers and employees worldwide who are seeking U.S. H-1B visas. We encourage you to contact us if you need legal advice regarding the H-1B visa process.
For a successful H-1B petition, the job offered must qualify as a “specialty occupation.” A job may qualify as a specialty occupation in one of four ways:
US Citizenship & Immigration Services is increasingly requiring more evidence that a job qualifies as a specialty occupation, even for jobs that in the past were commonly recognized as such. There has been no change in the law, but there has been a dramatic change in the government’s approach to adjudicating H-1B petitions. It is critical that an attorney preparing an H-1B petition have the experience and resources to hold US Citizenship & Immigration Services accountable to the proper and actual standards for adjudicating H-1B petitions.
The number of new H-1Bs available each year is 85,000. Of this number, 20,000 are reserved for those with U.S. Master’s degrees or higher. Each year the supply of new H-1B’s is inadequate to meet demand. More petitions are filed each year than can be approved. Applications for new H-1B’s must be filed at the beginning of April – 6 months before the start of the upcoming fiscal year. One should expect the supply of new H-1B’s to be exhausted in the first week of April each year. 200,000 or more H-1B filings have been submitted at the beginning of April in each of the past several years.
USCIS conducts a lottery to determine which of the petitions received will be processed — first conducting a random selection of 20,000 of the Master’s or higher degree petitions received, and then conducting a second lottery to determine which of the remaining petitions (both Bachelor’s degree and remaining Master’s) will be processed for the remaining 65,000 H-1B slots.
A “new” H-1B is one involving a worker seeking an H-1B for the first time in the past 6 years. The Cap does not apply to H-1B employees who will work for or at a university or affiliated nonprofit or research institute, doing work related to the non-profit organization’s mission. If an H-1B employee currently works for an exempt employer, such as a university, and then wants to move to a cap-subject employer (most private sector organizations), the employee then becomes subject to the cap and will require one of the 85,000 visas.
Spouses and children under 21 of H-1B employees can accompany and remain in the U.S. with the H-1B worker on H-4 visas. If the H-1B spouse has either an approved I-140 Petition for Alien Worker, or is in the 7th year of an H-1B, based on underlying employment-based green card application, then the H-4 spouse or child can apply for work authorization. H-4 work authorization is a policy which began in the Obama administration. The Trump administration may seek to eliminate H-4 work authorization.
The employer when sponsoring an H-1B undertakes certain obligations. Among these are the following:
The Law Firm of Craig J. Peterson L.L.C.’s founder has over 20 years’ experience preparing H-1Bs. Craig can help you assess whether the position offered and the employee’s qualifications are a good fit for an H-1B. With our H-1B filings, we provide support from start to finish for a successful H-1B Petition, as well as preparation of relevant documents for immigration compliance.
Based in Woodbury, our employment immigration firm works with employees and companies in the Twin Cities, across the United States and worldwide. We welcome you to contact The Law Firm of Craig J. Peterson L.L.C. for assistance with your immigration matter.