H-1B Visa Lawyer

H-1B: Bring Skilled
Foreign Workers
to Succeed in the U.S.

Hire A Leading
H-1B Visa lawyer

Your workforce is your company’s lifeblood.

In a world of increasingly globalized, knowledge-driven economies, leading U.S. corporations are looking for the best and the brightest candidates with the specialized skill sets needed to assure their organization’s success, no matter what part of the world the talent may be from.

If your company currently employs, or would like to start utilizing foreign professional workers, the H-1B lawyer in Smith, Gambrell & Russell’s Global Immigration & Mobility Practice Group can ensure the H1B visa status and process runs smoothly for you.

H-1B Visa Overview

The H-1B visa allows foreign national workers to enter the U.S. and work in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and engineering to healthcare and medicine. The H-1B visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is a logical first step towards permanent immigration.

H-1Bs are capped at 65,000 per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 visas for those with a U.S. advanced degree. The filing period for new H-1Bs opens each year on April 1, for employment beginning no sooner than October 1. As the demand far exceeds the supply, the immigration service accepts all petitions filed the first business week of April and then selects the H-1B petitions for adjudication through a random lottery process.

Any spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 are allowed to accompany or join the H-1B worker as H-4 dependents. However, they cannot work unless they qualify independently for a work visa. H-4 dependents can enroll and attend schools in the U.S. without obtaining a student visa.

Because the H-1B visa requires a U.S. sponsor, the foreign national must seek a U.S. employer who is willing to hire the applicant temporarily, pay them the prevailing or actual wage for the offered position, and file the petition and supporting documents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on their behalf.

H-1B is not a self-petitioning category. The applicant must have a sponsoring U.S. employer. An H-1B Visa Attorney can help by facilitating the application process.

Any spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 are allowed to accompany or join the H-1B worker as H-4 dependents. However, they cannot work unless they qualify independently for a work visa. H-4 dependents can enroll and attend schools in the U.S. without obtaining a student visa.

Because the H-1B visa requires a U.S. sponsor, the foreign national must seek a U.S. employer who is willing to hire the applicant temporarily, pay them the prevailing or actual wage for the offered position, and file the petition and supporting documents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on their behalf.

The H-1B Process

h1bvisaAn H-1B lawyer at Smith, Gambrell & Russell can help facilitate the process and obtain a positive H-1B visa status for the applicant. The H-1B petition process begins with the sponsoring employer obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination from the U.S. Department of Labor. Then a Labor Condition Application (LCA) is filed with the USDOL in which the employer certifies that it will pay the foreign national employee at least the prevailing wage or the actual wage (whichever is higher); that it will provide working conditions for H-1Bs that will not adversely affect other workers similarly employed; and that there is no strike or lockout in the occupational classification at the place of employment. Upon obtaining an approved LCA, the employer files the petition with USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over the place of employment.

Included in the H-1B petition packet filed with USCIS is a Form I-129 (Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker), along with an H supplement. The filing fee for an H-1B petition is currently $325. There is also a $500 anti-fraud fee, as well as a training fee that must be paid by the employer and is either $1,500 (company has 26 or more employees) or $750 (less than 26 employees). If either the employer or the foreign national wishes to expedite processing of the H-1B petition so that an initial determination is made within 15 days of the filing, premium processing may be requested for an additional fee of $1,225 using Form I-907. The petition packet must include documentation that shows the job is a professional or specialty occupation and that the H-1B applicant is qualified for the position.

Upon approval of the H-1B petition, USCIS will send Form I-797 (Notice of Action) to the employer. An H-1B visa status of “approved” may initially be for up to 3 years, but may not exceed the validity period of the LCA.

Overall, a foreign national is able to spend up to 6 years in H-1B visa status, with some limited exceptions.

If the foreign national is already in the U.S. and has applied for a change of status and/or an extension of stay, they are able to begin employment with the petitioning employer as of the effective date on the approval notice. However, in H-1B transfer cases, the foreign national may join the new petitioning employer once the petition has been filed. If the foreign national is outside the U.S., the employer will notify the foreign national of the approval and send all the required documents to the applicant, who must then apply for the H-1B visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country.

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