The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables American businesses to hire foreign nationals for specialist jobs that call for theoretical or technical skills in specialized subjects including science, engineering, mathematics, and computer programming. This visa can be extended for a total of six years, but it is normally only valid for three years.
The foreign worker must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in the relevant area or have equivalent work experience, to qualify for an H-1B visa. Additionally, the business must show that they have looked for eligible US workers for the role but have been unsuccessful in doing so.
Some claim that businesses utilize the H-1B visa to hire less expensive foreign labor instead of competent American workers, which has caused controversy in the US. Supporters of the program counter that luring in highly qualified foreign workers, enables US businesses to stay competitive in the international market.
It’s crucial to remember that the H-1B visa program has experienced several updates and adjustments over the years, and the prerequisites and eligibility requirements may alter based on the rules and regulations in effect at the time.
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The H-1B Visa’s Basic Requirements
The basic requirements for obtaining an H-1B visa include:
A job offer from a US employer: An individual must have a job offer from a US employer who is willing to sponsor them for an H-1B visa.
Specialty occupation: The job must be in a “specialty occupation,” which requires specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the relevant field.
Educational Qualification: The individual must have a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in the relevant field. In some cases, relevant work experience may be accepted instead of a degree.
Prevailing wage: The employer must agree to pay the individual the prevailing wage for the job based on their education and experience.
Employer sponsorship: The employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US Department of Labor, certifying that they will pay the individual the prevailing wage and that the employment of the H-1B worker will not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed US workers.
Numerical limits: There is a cap on the number of H-1B visas that are issued each year. Currently, the cap is set at 85,000, with 65,000 visas reserved for those with bachelor’s degrees or equivalent and 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from US universities.
It is important to note that the requirements for an H-1B visa may change depending on the current laws and regulations.
Examples of Jobs That Have Been Approved for H-1B Visas
The list below, which is taken from earlier USCIS reports, shows that the majority of these categories are broad.
Accountants and Auditors
Budget and Management Analysts
College and University Educators
Data Communication and Network Administrators
Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Investment Banking and Securities Dealing
Graphic Designers and Artists
Physicians and Surgeons
Sales and Distribution Managers
Systems Analysts and Programmers
Teachers, Primary and Secondary Schools
Software engineers, computer programmers, programmer analysts, and systems analysts, for instance, can all be found under the heading “systems analysis and programming” on this list. To find jobs that may be eligible for H-1B visas, you can study the various occupational families further using the guidelines provided by this list.
But keep an eye out for trends in adjudications. For instance, in the middle of 2018, USCIS started rejecting H-1B petitions for analysts of computer systems, finance, and market research. These positions have long been acknowledged by USCIS as specialty vocations that qualify. Employers filed a lawsuit, asking the Court to order USCIS to approve these cases. Regrettably, legal proceedings take time. A legal dispute over the position of market research analyst was resolved in late 2021; this position should once more be eligible for an H-1B petition.
Additionally, a policy document retraction from February 2021 indicated that systems analysts and computer programmers may once more be eligible to be classified as H-1B specialist professions. As these events evolve, companies who are thinking about filing an H-1B petition for one of these “analyst” job categories should exercise care and speak with an immigration lawyer.
Matching Your Background to H-1B Job Types
If you are considering applying for an H-1B visa, thoroughly review the job description and qualifications to ensure that a degree is required and that you have the necessary degree. (or the equivalent). The jobs on the above list are only a starting point. They do not cover every position that can be considered a specialty occupation for the H-1B visa.
You may have also heard that some labor brokers and consulting firms act as middlemen, setting up H-1B employees to work for different American corporations. Be wary, though, when considering such offers, as USCIS may conduct additional due diligence on such positions.
What Do Prospective Employers Need to Know About Which Jobs H-1B Workers Can Fill?
The aforementioned examples provide employers with a sense of the kind of positions for which they can go through the process of sponsoring an H-1B worker. But don’t let this be the topic’s beginning and end. You may have a job that neither perfectly fits into the above categories nor is particularly unusual.
Your organization’s position may be eligible to sponsor an H-1B worker if you have a history of doing so. For instance, you might have chosen five candidates for a job who all had the same degree. The position may be eligible if the foreign worker you intend to hire has the same degree as the other five.
Keeping this in mind, examine your individual employment offer further to determine whether it will qualify, using the examples above as a guide. Do not forget that there are additional options for a job to obtain an H-1B visa. Here, the emphasis is on giving some particular instances of jobs that USCIS has previously allowed.
What Do Students Interest in H-1B Status Need to Know Before Job Hunting?
The aforementioned examples can give you an idea of the subjects of study that can correspond to a job that qualifies for an H-1B visa if you are a student at a college or university and would like to position yourself to qualify for an H-1B visa in the future.
For instance, if you want to be an accountant, you should major in finance or accounting. While you might find interest in and value in art history, it won’t help you obtain an H-1B visa to work as an accountant. Concentrate on choosing a degree and courses to take that will help you land the career you want.
Don’t allow the aforementioned list to serve as both the start and the finish of your search, as was said above for employers. Instead, carefully examine job advertisements and assess how your coursework relates to the duties of each. If there is a close relationship, there is a significant probability that the employer may sponsor your application for an H-1B visa so you can work there.
Finally, you can view reports of employers who have submitted H-1B petitions through the USCIS Employer Data Hub going back to the fiscal year 2009. who at least might provide you with instances of companies who are ready to sponsor H-1B workers.