H-1B Visa Important Information to know before Filing the H-1B
Question: I know that the doors for the H-1B Visas will open up on April 1, 2010. I’ve heard so much about the H-1B Visa Petition, but I just don’t know exactly what is the H-1B Visa. Can you let me know?
Answer: The H-1B category is limited to alien workers filling positions in “specialty occupations” for which the alien workers have the necessary education and credentials. A “specialty occupation” is defined as the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge; and a minimum of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. It is possible to get an H-1B Visa without an actual bachelor’s degree, but there must be an equivalent of a bachelor’s degree for the H-1B Visa through either work, experience and/or a combination of education and work.
Question: What are the major requirements for the H-1B Visa Petition?
Answer: Foreign Nationals seeking to perform services in an H-1B specialty occupation must show that they have the necessary qualifications to undertake the services required for that H-1B specialty occupation. At a minimum, the foreign national in a specialty occupation must document that he or she has full state licensure to practice in the occupation, if such licensure is required to practice. This licensure must be shown at the beginning of the petition or the submission of the H-1B Petition, not at a later point. The foreign national must also establish that he or she has completed the degree required as the minimum standard for entry into the occupation in the United States, or has experience in the specialty equivalent to the completion of such degree and recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions in the occupation.
Question: Is there a limit on the number of H-1B visas available?
Answer: The 1990 Immigration and Nationality Act imposed an annual limit on the number of new admissions in the H-1B category. An H-1B number must be available at the time a new petition is adjudicated. Immigration will not approve an H-1B petition once the cap has been reached during a fiscal year if the petition has a date for commencement of employment that falls within that fiscal year. The Service counts petitions for initial H-1B employment in determining compliance with the annual cap. Petitions for sequential H-1B employment, concurrent H-1B employment, extensions of stay, and amended petitions are not counted against the cap.
The annual H-1B cap is set at 65,000. However, overall H-1B numbers are reduced by the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), which set aside 6800 H-1B numbers for professionals from those two countries each fiscal year. In practical terms, therefore, just 58,200 H-1B numbers are available in the standard H-1B pool, though some unused FTA visas from a prior fiscal year may be recaptured and made available in the first six weeks of the following fiscal year. While the economy was in recession last year and the H-1B’s actually lasted much longer than in previous years, the H-1B Petition should be submitted as soon after April 1 as possible in case they are used up quickly.
Question: Should I hire an Immigration Attorney or an H-1B Immigration Attorney to help?
Answer: There are many different parts to a successful H-1B. It would be in your benefit to hire an Immigration Attorney who has done a lot of H-1B Visa Petitions and has a track record of success.