H-1B: Every fiscal year, a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas are made available. Out of which 65,000 new H-1B visas are available for specialty (professional) level occupations. A specialty occupation requires application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Additional 20,000 visas are available for those specialty workers with an advanced degree from a US academic institution. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to live and work in the United States for a term of 6 years. To obtain an H-1B visa for a foreign beneficiary, the US employer has to comply with specific requirements. In short, the petition must show that following specific requirements have been met:
- A Labor Condition Application (LCA) has been certified by the Department of Labor (DOL)
- The position must qualify as a ‘specialty occupation’
- The alien must possess the necessary qualifications and/or experience to engage in a specialty occupation
In addition, excluded from the ceiling are all H-1B non-immigrants who work at (but not necessarily for) universities, non-profit research facilities associated with universities, and government research facilities. These are known as Cap Exempt.
Cap Exempt cases are also those who have received an H-1B approval from the USCIS at some point in the past and so have been counted towards H-1B Cap, although they may or may not have travelled to the US on that approval.
Spouses of certain H-1B visa holders are now authorized to work in the United States. Specifically the following categories of H-4 spouses will be allowed to apply for and work in the US:
- If principal applicant has an approved I-140; or
- If the principal applicant has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC21. AC21 permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.
How can we help?
- Provide guidance on ever changing business immigration law.
- Strategic consultation after evaluating facts of each case; guide and assist employers in collecting the appropriate required documentation; file appropriate forms and application with DOL and USCIS for various specialty occupation.
- Assistance with H-1B visa applications at consulates.