H-1B Visas

international employees

The United States that U.S. companies to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations using the H-1B program.

H-1B visas are the most common and best-known method for employers to hire skilled foreign national workers. Nonetheless, because of the numerical cap, it is sometimes unlikely that an H-1B visa petition will be successful.

Normally, H-1B petitions are reserved for “specialty occupations” within an organization. This means that the position offered to the individual requires, at a minimum a Bachelor’s Degree in a specific field, or its equivalent in that field or a closely related field.

Individuals cannot apply directly for an H-1B visa. Instead, the employer must petition for the entry of the employee. H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical cap each fiscal year. US employers can begin applying for H-1B visas six months before the actual start date of the position. H-1B visas are generally granted for up to three years, but may then be extended to a maximum of six years.

US immigration laws currently allow for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each fiscal year. This number includes 65,000 new H-1B visas available for overseas workers in specialty level occupations with a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, with an additional 20,000 visas available for specialty workers with an advanced degree from a US academic institution. In recent years, the applications for H-1B visas have been heavily competitive, and USCIS is receiving higher numbers of applicants than allowed by the numerical cap, which significantly reduces the possibilities of obtaining the requested worker. After USCIS receives applications, they combine all approved applications into a “lottery” and randomly choose the applications that will be allowed to bring their worker to the U.S.

Our team of specialists will help you navigate and understand the H-1B visa program. For more information and advice on US immigration law and US visa applications please contact us.