WHAT IS THE H-1B VISA?
The H-1B is one of the many categories of visa available for those who wish to work in the United States. It is a non-immigrant visa, as determined by the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It permits employers to employ, on a temporary basis, foreign workers who are qualified in specialty occupations. It does not directly permit an employee’s eligibility for a Green Card.
In fact, if a foreign worker has H-1B status, but leaves his or her job or the sponsoring employer dismisses the worker, in order to remain in the country it is necessary for the worker to apply for and subsequently be given a change to another type of non-immigrant visa, find a new employer, or depart from the U.S.
An H-1B visa is normally valid for up to 6 years with the need to follow a special procedure if renewal is required. The Immigration and Nationality Act places a quota cap each year which is usually filled long before the year has come to an end.
H-1B occupation guidelines
There are specific guidelines for defining a specialty occupation, which means it has to require theoretical and practical application in a highly specialized area. There are a number of disciplines which come under these requirements and they include accounting, business, education, the arts, law, theology, chemistry, biotechnology, architecture, education, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health.
The applicant for an H1-B visa is expected to have attained at least a bachelor’s degree in the specialism and be eligible and able to attain a state license to practice the discipline. Employment is only permitted for the person who has offered employment sponsorship.
Why does an H-1B visa exist?
During a period of economic growth, many employers, particularly those in business in the high technology field are unable to find suitably skilled U.S. labor to fill employment opportunities. In this situation companies are given permission to hire foreign workers who are highly skilled to take up these positions by filing application for H-1B visas on behalf of the applicant.
H-1B transfer or portability
H-1B holders who wish to carry on working in the U.S.A. after six years, but who have been unable to get permanent residency have to stay outside of the country for 1 year before submitting a further application for an H-1B visa. Even though there is a limit on how long an H-1B visa holder can stay, there is no requirement that states the person has to stay for a particular period in the specific job the visa was initially issued for. This is referred to as H-1B transfer or portability. The new employer must sponsor another H-1B visa. There is a chance that this new visa may come under the annual quota so may be difficult to obtain.
Return to “The H-1B Visa” to learn more.