Sunday, April 11, 2021

The H-1B visa: Facts, requirements, processes

What is the H-1B visa? Requirements, processes and FAQs

The H-1B visa program is probably the most well-known US federal employment visas, and arguably the most controversial. Businesses say it’s too restrictive. Labor organizations complain that it displaces US workers and lowers their wages. Some politicians use it to appeal to their base with scant ability to fix the process to the benefit of all. But the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes.

The following overview of the H-1B visa is accurate as of the publication date. Be aware that the rules and internal business processes of the H-1B visa are complex. Either could be changed by legislation, executive order, or internal process reviews. For the latest rules, consult the Department of Labor (DoL), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or a legal firm specializing in immigration.

What is the H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa allows US employers to hire foreign national professionals to work in the US when qualified Americans cannot be found. The H-1B visa holder can work only for the sponsoring employer or the visa will be revoked. The visa was created in 1990 when Congress expanded the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and is not a direct path to citizenship.

According to the Department of Labor website, “The intent of the H-1B provisions is to help employers who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the US workforce by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States.”

H-1B visa requirements

To be eligible for an H-1B visa, professionals from other countries must work in a “specialty occupation” that requires “theoretical and practical application” of a unique body of knowledge and hold at least a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, in the discipline. IT, engineering, medicine, math, law, accounting, and other difficult-to-master occupations are eligible for H-1B visas.

H-1B visa process

To obtain an H-1B visa, an employer must complete the following steps:

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