Our attorneys advise corporate clients from all over the United States and abroad in industries including Information Technology, Engineering, Finance, Research and Development, Education, Oil and Gas, Pipe-Fitting, Healthcare, and Pharmaceuticals. These high growth industries are economically critical, projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs, and are being transformed by technology and innovation. In order to be competitive, employers today must have the ability to recruit globally.
We understand the importance of hiring the brightest and most qualified of individuals to fulfil your staffing needs, and we have the experience to guide you in obtaining the proper visa for your foreign workers. We are also knowledgeable of the professional and practical aspects of those industries for which workers are in highest demand.
The H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa is one of the ways in which companies can bring professionals to the United States. The H-1B Visa is a non-immigrant classification used by a person who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation. This visa can be used for professional positions which require specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree in the appropriate field.
A company may sponsor an employee for 3 years on an H-1B visa and may file for an extension for up to 3 additional years.
Our office files hundreds of H-1B applications each year and can provide the proper guidance to ensure that your company can hire the professionals it needs.
Types of H-1B specialty occupations
- Chemical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Business Analyst
- Computer Programmer
- Database Administrator
- Electrical Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Financial Analyst
- Logistics Coordinator
- Management Analyst
- Market Research Analyst
- Nurse Practitioner
- Physical Therapist
- Programmer Analyst
- Software Engineer
- Software Developer
- Speech Pathologist
- Systems Analyst
- Web Developer
The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
- Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
- The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
For the prospective worker to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation they must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
- Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
- Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
- Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
Step 1: Employer Submits LCA to DOL for certification
The employer must apply for and receive DOL certification of an LCA.
Step 2: Employer Submits Completed Form I-129 to USCIS
The employer should file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the correct USCIS Service Center.
Step 3: Prospective Workers Outside the United States Apply for Visa and/or Admission
Once the Form I-129 petition has been approved, the prospective H-1B worker who is outside the United States may apply with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for an H-1B visa (if a visa is required). Regardless of whether a visa is required, the prospective H-1B worker must then apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for admission to the United States in H-1B classification.
Labor Condition Application (LCA)
The prospective employer must file an approved Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA), with the Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker.
Prospective specialty occupation employers must obtain a certification of an LCA from the DOL. The application requires the employer to attest that it will comply with the following labor requirements:
- The employer will pay the beneficiary a wage which is no less than the wage paid to similarly qualified workers or, if greater, the prevailing wage for your position in the geographic area in which you will be working.
- The employer will provide working conditions that will not adversely affect other similarly employed workers. At the time of the labor condition application there is no strike or lockout at the employer place of business. Notice of the filing of the labor condition application with the DOL has been given to the union bargaining representative or has been posted at the place of business.
Period of Stay
A H-1B non-immigrant may be admitted for a period of up to three years. The time period may be extended but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years, though some exceptions do apply under sections 104(c) and 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).
The employer will be liable for the reasonable costs of the worker’s return transportation if the employer terminates the worker before the end of the worker’s authorized stay. The employer is not responsible for the costs of the worker’s return transportation if the worker voluntarily resigned the position.
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit "cap" of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related non-profit entities or a non-profit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.
Family of H-1B Visa Holders
The worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the H-4 non-immigrant classification. Family members in the H-4 non-immigrant classification may not engage in employment in the United States.