H1B Visa for Specialty Occupations
An H1B is a temporary work visa that foreign workers with specialty occupation or specialized work are given so that they can enter the United States legally. The U.S immigration laws have limited the total number of these visas that can be given out to foreign workers every year. The number according to U.S immigration laws stands at 65,000 per fiscal year (from October 1 to September 30). Nationals of Chile and Singapore may be eligible to apply for an H1B1 visa to work in the US which is exempt from this cap.
On April 1st, 2016 US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H1-B petitions on a first come first served basis. Traditionally, the cap limit is reached very quickly and only those who act in time and apply are able to obtain the visa. Prospective employees of successful H1B petitions will be eligible to start working in the U.S. on October 1, 2016.
If you miss the H1B filing in 2016, you will not have a chance to file a new H1B until April 2017, and your prospective employee will not be able to come to the US under the H1B program until October 1, 2017.
To avoid this unfavorable situation, you are advised to begin planning for the April 2016 filing now, thus ensuring that your H1B petition will be ready to file before April 1st.
H1B Visa Entitlements
The holders of this visa can only live and work in the U.S temporarily. The visa is usually granted to its holder for 3 years and depending on the circumstances, an extension of stay could be sought. Foreign workers with an H1B visa are entitled t0 dual intent, which means the holders can maintain their status as H1B workers while still applying for U.S permanent residence through an application for a Green card. The H1B, given to a professional worker such as an accountant or engineer, does not authorize or allow its recipient to change employers without permission.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for the applicable derivative visa (H4 visa) to join their spouse or parent in the US. Accompanying spouses and children are entitled to study in the United States but are not entitled to undertake any employment without obtaining an appropriate work visa.
H1B Visa Requirements
To qualify for an H1B visa to work in the US, a foreign worker must have a temporary offer of employment in a specialty occupation from a US employer.
A specialty occupation is an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge that usually requires the equivalent of at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience. Typical specialty occupation fields include architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, medicine, health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology and the arts. Fashion models of distinguished merit and ability may also qualify for an H1B visa. H1B visa applicants, as in all visa applications, may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.