Let’s cover the basic terminologies first.
A H-1B visa is issued to non-immigrants in the United States to enable them to get temporary employment in specialty occupations. It is issued under the Immigration and Nationality Act section 101(a)(15)(H). It is a method commonly used by most employers to bring professional experts in different fields into the United States. It gives the employees a chance to work in the United States for three years, a period that can be extended to 6 years. In order for one to qualify for a H-1B Visa, they have to be a holders of a Bachelors degree or years of experience in the specific field of expertise they are being brought in for.
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What is LCA?
This is an abbreviation for Labor Condition Application. It is a form that is designed for the purpose of ensuring that the wage the employee is paid either meets or exceeds the prevailing wage in the area of employment. It also contains a section of attestation designed to prevent the VISA from allowing the importation of foreign workers who can bring on a strike or even allow them to replace US citizen workers.
The Process of Sponsoring and Qualifying for an H-1B Visa
This process includes a few major components, which I will outline below:
LCA application by a company
Before an employer files for an initial petition for an H-1B visa, they have to file for a LCA with United States Department of Justice. The LCA is a form that contains statements that help protect US citizen workers due to the hiring of these new employees using the H-1B visa. It requires the following:
- The employee will be paid the prevailing wage as per their position
- The employee will receive equal benefits as other employees in the same position
- Hiring of the employee should not affect the working conditions of other employees
- At the time of hiring, no active labor dispute or work stoppage is in place
Petition for an H-1B Visa
After the company has successfully filed a LCA, they are free to apply for the visa. An employer is charged with the responsibility of filing for the visa on behalf of the employee as they are not allowed to self-petition. Usually, there is 65000 H-1B visas awarded each year that are up for grabs. However, 6800 visas are already set aside for Singapore and Chile while another 20000 are awarded to workers with advanced degrees such as a Masters degree or a PhD. After petition is done, one all has to do is wait for feedback from the USCIS. The fate of the employee then lies on the outcome of the lottery.
The approving of the Visa by USCIS
Waiting for approval by the USCIS is a torturous task for most. There are various factors the USCIS considers in order to approve a person’s H-1B visa. These factors may include:
- The person the employer wants to hire that is their level of education and expertise
- The position the employer offers in the sense that it must require a degree holder for example, one cannot apply for a H-1B visa for the position of a cleaning lady.
- The employer is also a key factor since the company must be financially capable and be of adequate size in order for their employee to be granted a H-1B visa.
In the event that the employee has a spouse and children, they are allowed to accompany the H-1B principal under H-4 status. They are not allowed to work but can study in the country.
There are various things that one has to take care of in the event that they are granted the H-1B visa.
- They have to inform their lawyer of their travel plans prior to the traveling date.
- They are allowed to quit their jobs but this may lead to termination of their visa
- In case of a layoff, their H-1B status is valid for 60 days grace period
The cost of acquiring an H-1B Visa
In order for one to acquire this visa, they must be prepared to meet the cost between $1500-$4000 to walk you through the maze and complete all the government filings.
In case you are looking to either sponsor or acquire an H-1B visa, it would be helpful to understand all the steps mentioned above and then visitto be connected with an experienced startup immigration attorney. We also have another feature called which might interest you. For a low flat-rate (typically $25) you can ask one of our experienced attorneys a question and receive a customized answer within 48 hours.
Best of luck and hope you find this answer helpful!