In recent years, United States companies have sought for employees with skills that are not always available in the United States. As a result, they actively look overseas to fill essential staffing needs, often in highly technical positions involving technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and more.
The United States has developed an H-1B sponsorship process with set quotas for the number of foreign citizens with unique capabilities to come to work for U.S. firms for a limited period. If approved, companies gaining H-1B sponsorship must assume responsibility for the visa holder.
Quotas and Qualifications for H-1B Visa Applicants
The number of H-1B visas issued is limited. Currently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) permits a congressionally established quota of 65,000 individuals with a bachelor’s degree level of education or equivalent. An additional 20,000 individuals with a master’s degree or higher level of education are also permitted.
Because of exclusive international agreements, 6,800 of the H-1B visas are allotted to employees from Singapore and Chile.
While there are usually far more applicants than available H-1B visas, a lottery system is used to determine who may be granted the visas. Once awarded, the H-1B visa holder is permitted to stay and work in the United States for up to three years. An extension of another three years is possible.
A potential H-1B sponsor must certify that the company is financially viable and can prove that their cash flow is sufficient to maintain the salary required to support the visa recipient. This requirement is often tricky for start-ups since their financial future may be uncertain. In these cases, proof of sufficient venture capital, a solid business plan, forward contracts and other sources of revenue may be required.
Submitting a Labor Condition Application for H-1B Sponsorship
The sponsoring company must submit an H-1B sponsorship petition on behalf of the employee candidate. Foreign workers do not self-apply without a sponsor.
To begin, the prospective H-1B visa sponsor must complete an LCA, Labor Condition Application, in which the H-1B sponsor assures the presence of the foreign worker will not adversely affect their U.S. employees. For example:
- The H-1B worker will be paid the same as a comparable U.S. employee.
- The foreign employee will enjoy all the usual benefits the other employees receive.
- The new employee will not alter the existing working conditions at the sponsor’s place of business.
- There should be no work stoppage or labor strike occurring while the application is being considered.
The employer must also notify their existing workforce at least 30 days before application that H-1B sponsorship paperwork is being filed. The notification should advise the number of employees sought, job classifications, wages to be offered, work location of the new employee, length of employment, and the employees’ rights to challenge the H-1B sponsorship.
Submission of the Form I-129 for H-1B Sponsorship
Once the LCA has been reviewed by the USCIS, the sponsor will submit a completed Form 1-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker. This petition should be filed with the various applicable filing fees.
The Department of Homeland Security provides a helpful checklist for the accurate submission of the I-129 and all fees.
H-1B Workers Can Become Permanent Residents
Eventually, if all has gone well with the foreign worker who possesses extraordinary skills, the H-1B sponsor and employee may apply for permanent labor certification. If approved by the Department of Labor, the individual can submit a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with the USCIS.
Benefits of Assistance by an Immigration Law Firm
Certified Immigration law firms like Nanthaveth & Associates in Austin TX are experienced with assisting companies in the petition process for bringing highly qualified foreign employees to the United States. Successfully pursuing the means to H-1B sponsorship involves considerable scrutiny, documentation, and follow-up. Petitions must be appropriately completed while documentation to qualify must be complete and unambiguous.
Nanthaveth & Associates led by Vi Nanthaveth is a compassionate, multilingual immigration law firm dedicated to the success of their clients. The staff has succeeded in past H-1B sponsorship petitions and understands the requirements of each government agency involved.
Contact Nanthaveth & Associates to Schedule Your Free Consultation
The quest for highly qualified H-1B sponsorships can be complicated and highly competitive. Begin the process by consulting with a qualified immigration law firm like Nanthaveth & Associates in Austin TX to ensure your path to H-1B sponsorship is smooth and uninterrupted. The future growth of your company may depend on successful completion of the process.
Visit the Nanthaveth & Associates website to set up an appointment for your free consultation.
About Nanthaveth & Associates:
Nanthaveth & Associates, PLLC is a trusted immigration law firm located in Austin, Texas. Immigration law experts at Nanthaveth and Associates are prepared to provide legal counsel for businesses, families and individuals in the areas of green cards, adjustment of status, work visas and investor visa applications, family-sponsored immigration, employer compliance, self-petitions, permanent residence, naturalization, waivers, appeals, foreign adoptions, and more.
For Austin, TX immigration help call Nanthaveth & Associates at 512.371.9000.