To aid in filling the gaps in the US labor market in industries like Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering (STEM), as well as arts, the US government allows businesses to offer jobs to qualified foreign workers through the H-1B visa. How does this work, and how can you help? Read on to find out.
The H-1B Visa and the US Job Market
Across the globe, there’s a high demand for skilled workers in STEM fields. The US combats this shortage by offering a limited number of H-1B visas to those with the education and work experience to do these jobs. However, since there is a “cap” on how many of these visas are allocated (unless the job is considered “cap-exempt”), the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) puts the petitions received into a lottery.
Workers chosen in the lottery go through a further screening process. Once approved, they may enter the US and obtain employment for three years, with another three-year extension possible. With this system in place, the US economy and foreign countries benefit.
Petition Approval Rates and the Job Economy
Since the H-1B visa program was established in 1990, employers have petitioned for foreign professionals in highly skilled fields to work in the US in specialty occupations. These jobs require a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or higher. Many of the jobs that qualify for this definition are in the medical sciences, technology, and engineering fields, which are crucial to the success of the US infrastructure.
When petition rates for skilled employers are high, the US economy and its workers feel the positive impacts. And because the criteria to meet the definition of “skilled occupation” ensures the US workers are protected, hiring foreign professionals doesn’t harm US citizens.
To receive the designation of specialty occupation and approval to hire the foreign worker, employers must attest on the required Labor Condition Application (LCA) that employing the H-1B worker will not affect the working conditions and wages of US workers in similar positions adversely. The employer must also provide current employees with notice that they intend to hire the H-1B worker.
With these factors in place, foreign professionals in US specialty occupations fill a gap that can’t be filled by current workers and helps improve the economy rather than detract from it.
The Steps to Get Started on the H-1B Visa Path
Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit the US, or your career in your current country is at a standstill. Whatever the reason, you’re interested in accepting or applying for a specialty occupation job offer, which requires obtaining an H-1B visa.
A prospective employer must initiate the process. They submit the LCA to the Department of Labor, and once approved, they can begin petitioning for a worker of their choice to fill the role.
The registration process allows employers to submit a petition request and a $10 filing fee before completing the full application. If this request is chosen in the lottery (typically held in March), then the employer would continue the steps to complete the full petition application.
If you have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or higher, you may be eligible for these specialty occupations. Historically, there are always more registrations than allowed allocations. The only way to ensure your petition skips the lottery process is to accept a job with a cap-exempt employer. These positions are in higher education institutions, nonprofits affiliated with higher education institutions, or government research facilities.
How You Can Make an Impact on the US Workforce
While there are plenty of myths that claim foreign workers are “taking over” US jobs, the reality is that the country needs immigrant workers in specialty occupations. These workers create new job opportunities for US citizens in multiple ways.
Each person is unique and has their own set of skills. When there aren’t enough native workers to fill essential job roles in STEM and art fields, the result of an empty position can have a domino effect on other jobs. Without someone leading the way in the specialty occupation, those who rely on that person would be without skilled leadership.
Specialty occupation foreign workers aren’t competing for jobs with US citizens. They’re taking roles that no one in the US wanted or qualified for, thereby increasing the demand for the product or service and paving the way for more jobs for US workers.
At the same time, having immigrant workers in the US has the added advantage of attracting businesses from other countries. These large-scale corporations expand into the US and create more jobs for US workers. The immigrants and their families often open new businesses, expanding the US labor market.
Most importantly, the US needs your innovative ideas, unique thoughts, and hard and soft skills. With your help, you can improve your family’s future while aiding in the growth of the US labor force.
Are you ready to see how you can make a difference in the US and your career with an H-1B visa? The process is complex but not impossible. It becomes easier and more streamlined when you enlist immigration-specific legal help, like Visa2US.
At Visa2US, we’re available 24/7 to answer your questions, advise you as to your next steps, and simplify the H-1B visa application process. Contact us today to see how we can maximize your chances of making a difference — in your future and to the country.