The Law Offices of Norka M. Schell, L.L.C. welcomes contact from employers and employees to discuss their visa immigration options that best suit your unique situation. Our H-1B lawyers can recommend our business clients the fastest way to bring professional foreign workers to the United States. Our H-1B lawyers also can devise a plan that would allow professional foreign workers to advance their career in the United States while keeping the options open for eventual transition to permanent residency.
What You Should Know About an H-1B Visa:
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows a qualified professional foreign worker with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to temporarily (up to 6 years) be employed in the United States by a sponsoring U.S. employer;
One of the benefits of entering the United States with an H-1B Visa, is that spouses and unmarried under the 21 years old children of the professional foreign worker may also come to the United States;
To qualify for an H-1B visa, the professional foreing worker can be employed either part-time or full-time; and
H-1B worker on a valid H-1B visa may travel outside the United States, for business and pleasure, and safely re-enter the country.
The Permanent Labor Condition Application
The process of applying for an H-1B visa is very complex and best be handled by a skilled immigration attorney. An H-1B visa application starts with a Permanent labor condition application (LCA), which must be certified by the Department of Labor (DOL).
One of the main requirements of the LCA is a declaration made by the employer to pay at least the prevailing wage for the offered position as it is determined by an appropriate wage source for the specific geographic location of employment. To achieve this, the offered position must be correctly categorized and identified by an attorney preparing an H-1B application. The employer must maintain a public access file containing information about the required wage to be paid to the H-1B worker and posting of notice. The employer must also maintain wage and hour records, as well as information concerning working conditions for all similarly situated employees.
In addition to the certified LCA, an integral component of an H-1B visa application is the letter of support endorsed by the petitioning U.S. employer. This letter seeks to establish that the alien will indeed be employed in a specialty occupation and that the alien is qualified for the position offered.
Attorney Norka Schell as an experienced attorney will assist the U.S. employer in drafting this important piece of evidence in a way that conveys a correct and convincing message to USCIS adjudicating officers.
H-1B Visa Quota Consideration and Deadlines
H-1B Visa have an annual quota mandated by Congress that can be approved per fiscal year of 65,000. There is an exemption from this cap available for aliens who have earned a Master’s or higher degree from a university in the United States. This exemption is limited to 20,000.
There are strict filing deadlines for H-1B visa petitions which all cap-subject applications must adhere to in order to be considered. The fiscal year begins on October 1 and the employment start date can be no earlier than this. So if a petitioner requests an October 1 start date, the application must be submitted on or after April 1. Due to an increasingly high volume of H-1B filings, each year the cap is filled closer and closer to the first day on which cap-subject applications are accepted.
On April 15, 2013, Premium Processing Service became available for all cap-subject H-1B work visa petitions, including those H-1B visa petitions seeking an exemption from the fiscal year cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master's degree or higher.