The H-1B Visa
When you want to work in the United States in a position that requires special knowledge (usually at a bachelor’s degree level or beyond), you can request a US employer to sponsor you. The employer has often approached you with a tentative job offer.
USCIS will only approve 85,000 total positions each year, chosen through a random lottery process. Unless you’ve filed a cap-exempt position because your job meets those criteria, you’ll have to go through the lottery. Cap-exempt jobs are those under a higher education institution, a nonprofit associated with a higher education institution, or a government research center.
When your petition clears the lottery and is chosen, it goes into processing. At that point, USCIS reviews your information and approves, denies, or rejects the petition. Approvals will allow you to begin working on October 1st, the year the petition was filed.
Getting Sponsored for an H-1B
Various fees and forms are required throughout the petition process, and only the sponsoring employer can pay and file them. For small businesses, this isn’t always cost-effective or simple. Resources and documentation are required, which usually means hiring an attorney to ensure everything is completed correctly.
Small companies need talented employees, but H-1B visas usually go to foreign workers hired at larger businesses. This is partly due to the time it takes a small company to complete the forms and prove that its business is legitimate.
If a small company sponsors you, you must understand your potential employer's challenges as they attempt to complete your petition.
Funding and resources are the largest hurdles. H-1B visas can cost thousands of dollars between USCIS fees and attorney costs. If the petition is rejected or denied, they don’t get most of their investment back.
Additionally, the Labor Condition Application must be completed with four attestations. Three of the attestations are simple: The foreign worker isn’t replacing a striking worker, they won’t negatively impact the company's current workforce, and current employees were notified about the intent to hire them.
But the fourth attestation is more challenging. Businesses must attest that they’ll pay the foreign worker the prevailing wage determined by the Department of Labor. This rate can be much more than the small business would normally offer someone in the same position.
These obstacles can make it tricky to take the route of working for a small business. You’re entrusting your career to an employer that may not be able to pay for your petition or meet the requirements to have it approved. But there are advantages to working for a small business, and it could be the ideal path for your career.
Should you decide that your next career steps include working for a small business, and you’ve been offered a job at one, getting legal help is a wise idea. Visa2US can make the process easier for you and your employer to understand, reducing stress, rejections, and delays.
Contact Visa2US to see how an immigration lawyer can be a cost-effective way to complete an H-1B petition today.