H-1B Visa for Professional Workers
H-1B for Professional Workers
Purpose of H-1B Visa Program: The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign national professionals.
Many U.S. employers actively recruit worldwide for professional talent in fields ranging from Information Technology (IT) specialists, and market research analysts, to professors and scientists. Other Examples of H-1B specialty occupations include accounting, architecture, business specialties, education, engineering, health and medicine, law, and theology. Although an LVN does not qualify as a specialty occupation for an H-1B purpose, certain nurse positions that require at least a bachelor's degree may qualify.
The H1B Visa (Professional in a Specialty Occupation) allows a U.S. employer to fill a position requiring the minimum of a baccalaureate in the particular field with a qualified worker from abroad. The foreign worker must possess that U.S. degree or an acceptable foreign alternative. In some cases, a combination of studies and relevant experience may substitute for the degree if it is determined by a credentials expert to qualify the foreign professional. The H-1B category is an expedient and lawful method to bring foreign-born professionals temporarily to the United States, and therefore the most widely sought after visa classifications for employment in the United States
An H-1B visa is available for:
- Foreign national professionals engaged in a specialty occupation.
- Foreign national fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
What is a “Specialty Occupation”
- USCIS's definition of a specialty occupation is an occupation that requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty or its equivalent as a minimum for entry into the occupation.
- Although this may seem like a great deal of verbiage for most people, it is essentially a safe bet to look at the position and see if the normal minimum requirement for entry into the particular position is a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent). A position that would normally not require a bachelor's degree for entry into the field may qualify as a specialty occupation if the position is so complex or unique that only a person with a degree can perform the requisite duties.
- Positions that are traditionally considered professional positions would most likely qualify as a specialty occupation. They include positions such as architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges or seminaries. The USCIS has indicated through decisions over the years that accountants, computer professionals, social workers, medical technologists, dieticians, economists, mechanical engineers, and librarians may also qualify as specialty occupations.
- After establishing that a particular position qualifies as a specialty occupation, the employer must show that the foreign worker sought meets the requirements needed to engage in a specialty occupation. The person must hold a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited college or university and the degree must be required to qualify in the specialty occupation. If the person holds a foreign degree, then that degree must be determined to be the educational equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree. In some cases, a person may obtain an educational equivalency through a combination of education, specialized training or progressively responsible work experience. Three years of specialized experience is generally considered equivalent to one year of college education.
The H-1B process
1.First, the U.S. employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor.
- It protects U.S. workers by requiring employers to attest that employment of H-1B employees will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.
- It protects H-1B professionals from exploitation by requiring employers to attest that they will pay the required wage, which must be the higher of the prevailing wage determination or the wage employers pay to employees in the same position.
- Generally, the U.S. Department of Labor requires employers to submit the LCA electronically through its LCA Online System. Within one business day of filing the LCA, the employer must make available a public access file that may be viewed by any person. The public access file must include a copy of the LCA, a statement of the salary paid to the H-1B worker, the prevailing wage for the H1-B worker's position, the source for the prevailing wage determination, and an explanation of how the employer determined the wage for the H-1B employee.