H-1B visas allow employers in the United States to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. There are a limited number of H-1B visas available for non-immigrants and only the most qualified will be considered. If you are an employer interested in hiring skilled foreign workers, researching your legal options is the first step of many to obtain a visa for your foreign worker.
Since the United States only grants H-1B visas for specialty occupations, it is important to know what qualifies as a specialty occupation. In general, a specialty occupation requires at least a bachelor’s degree that is related to the employment position. H-1B visas recipients often include professionals who are skilled in biotechnology, architecture, engineering, chemistry, medicine, education, accounting, law, and the arts. Those who do not have a degree in their field must be of distinguished merit and skill. It can also help to have a state license and a sponsoring employer.
In addition to obtaining the right to work in the United States for up to six years (with renewals), the H-1B visa comes with a number of other attractive benefits for the employee. For example, holders of an H-1B visa can bring immediate family members to the United States under an H-4 visa. In fact, family members with an H-4 visa may stay in the United States as long as the H-1B visa holder retains legal status. An H-4 visa holder can even obtain a Social Security number, attend school, obtain a driver’s license, and open a bank account.
The H-1B visa can even serve as a springboard to immigrant status such as a permanent resident and later citizen. Those who intend on staying here may apply for a green card. This process, however, can take a long time. So workers often have to renew their H-1B visas while waiting for their green card request to be processed.
It is important to learn about all the aspects of H-1B visas before applying. For example, if an H-1B visa holder is laid off, he or she may have to leave the United States in a matter of days. There is a grace period in which the worker can try to find work, but there may not be enough time to secure a new H-1B visa before having to leave the country. This is why it is important to choose the visa sponsor carefully and seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles immigration law attorney who will guide you through what can be a complex and challenging process from start to finish.