Have you ever been trying to fill a specific position at your company and you just can’t find the right fit? Maybe you have been keeping your search too local. The right employee may be located overseas!
Using the H-1B visa system to hire a foreign worker can help you fill specialty roles at your company. Professionals who excel in their individual fields and skilled workers in a variety of industries are granted admission to the US for up to three years via the employer sponsored H-1B visa program.
For someone to qualify for the H-1B visa, they need:
- A Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
- Employment in a speciality occupation
- To be earning a wage
If you work with an immigration attorney, the employer side of the process is surprisingly simple. It allows you to recruit skilled workers from almost anywhere in the world so you can build your business.
Step 1: Get Started with Labor Certification
You will need to file an approved Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA). You will submit this through the online iCERT system unless you’ve been given special permission to submit it through the mail. You must make sure the application is accurate and truthful.
You may choose to fill it out on your own or work with an immigration attorney to complete the process.
Step 2: File Form I-129
You will also need to file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center. There may be additional filing requirements depending on the job and location as well. The LCA must be submitted with Form I-129.
Step 3: The Prospective Employee Applies for a Visa
Once Form I-129 has been approved, the international employee, if not already in the United States, will need to apply with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for admission to the United States.
Sometimes a visa is required for a job, and sometimes it is not. Regardless of whether a visa is required, the prospective employee must apply to for permission to come to the US under the H-1B classification.
An attorney can work with the employee to help make this process as smooth as possible. The amount of forms and filing may seem daunting, but an experienced immigration attorney will be able to handle it with ease.
While the H-1B visa is supposed to be just for three years, you can apply for an extension for up to six years. But if things are going really well with your employee there are some exceptions under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) to have them stay longer.
Work with an Attorney to File All the Paperwork
I am not just saying this as an attorney! It is crucial to work with a lawyer to make sure you’ve included all the proper documentation. There can be up to 15 different documents that will have to be submitted with the application. There are only 65,000 visas awarded each year (though the first 20,000 petitions filed for employees with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap), using a lottery system, and if you don’t file properly you’re out of the running.
It’s important to make sure to research an attorney before hiring them. You should:
- Check their credentials
- Ask for references
- Look at reviews
Working with an immigration attorney familiar with the process allows you to receive all of the benefits of working with foreign employees without worrying about the paperwork or the processing involved.
Winter Haven Immigration Attorney Renee Pobjecky has represented her clients on a variety of immigration issues ranging from investment visas to family based immigration matters. She currently represents immigrants before the Immigration Courts in Orlando and Miami.
Renee is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Political Science and minors in English and Business Administration. In 2001, she received her Juris Doctorate from Baylor University School of Law.
Renee is a member of the International Section of the American Bar Association and is active in the Winter Haven Women’s Bar Association. She currently serves on the Board of Director’s for the Polk County Florida Rural Legal Services and was a 2006 and 2008 recipient of the Pro Bono Attorney Outstanding Participation Award from Florida Rural Legal Services and the Lakeland Bar Association.