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H-1B Visas

In Florida, the economy is creating new jobs at a rapid rate. For example, medical assistants are expected to have an employment growth of 27.8% by 2026. With so many new jobs emerging, there are more opportunities for workers from other countries. Some can enter the country and work on an H-1B visa.

H-1B visas are for individuals who can get employment from U.S. companies. Typically, their professions require certain expertise. Many of the jobs are in the IT, architecture, medicine, and science fields. Generally, jobs that require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree fall under the H-1B visa. However, you may be able to obtain a visa if you have enough experience to compensate for the lack of education.

Unfortunately, not everyone is successful in their attempt for this type of visa. There is a limit to how many visas are issued every year. If the applicant is not picked in the visa lottery, they won’t gain entry to the U.S. To improve your chances at obtaining this visa for an employee, you should work with an immigration lawyer in Florida. They can tell you more about your options and give you details about the process. The Florida Immigration Law Counsel can help you.

Facts About H-1B Visas

Because the H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa, it is easier to obtain than a green card. Therefore, many American companies use this visa to bring in long-term employees. If they are unsuccessful in their attempt at the visa, they may turn to other visas like the L-1A.

The employee cannot apply for this visa. Rather, the employer needs to file the application. It’s their responsibility to fill out the paperwork and submit it to the proper authorities.

Who is Eligible?

This visa is only intended for those who work in specialty occupations. Therefore, one of the following requirements must be met:

  • Have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree or higher, or have the equivalent in experience and skills
  • The degree is common to the position, or the position is so difficult that it requires a degree
  • The employer typically requires this degree of their employees in the same position
  • The duties of the job are so complex that employees need a degree to perform them

The prospective employee must also meet certain requirements. They must have one of the following:

  • Completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher (the one required by the occupation) from an accredited school
  • A foreign degree that is equal to a Bachelor’s or higher
  • An unrestricted license, registration, or certification that allows them to work in the position
  • Training, experience, or education that is equal to the degree and have worked in positions that show expertise in the field

If the position does not meet the requirements for an H-1B visa, there is another option. The employer can fill out an H-2B visa. Another option is the L-1. With an L-1B, a nonimmigrant can work in the U.S. if the company has operations in the U.S. and abroad. The employer might be able to transfer the worker from their foreign workplace to the American one. As with all other visas, there are other requirements.

Cap on Visas

Every year, the U.S. limits the amount of H-1B visas it issues. With only 85,000  issued annually, there are more applicants than there are visas. Employers are allowed to file six months before the visa starts.

Only 65,000 H-1Bs are available to workers with a Bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, 20,000 are available to those with a higher degree from a U.S. school. Because of these limitations, the process is often left to the lottery system.

How Long Does the Visa Last?

When the H-1B is first granted, it’s only valid for three years. However, it can be extended. The maximum extension is six years.

That said, this visa could be your key to entry in the United States. The H-1B visa is classified as a dual intent visa. This means that visa holders are allowed to apply and receive a green card during their stay. Of course, there is no guarantee you will receive a green card. That process is very different from the visa process and comes with many complications.

If you are denied your green card and your H-1B expires, you need to leave the country. You must remain out of the U.S. for a minimum of one year. Then, you can apply for a new H or L visa.

Family of Visa Holders

If you have a spouse or children, you can bring them into the country. However, you need to do so with the proper visa. They need an H-4 Visa and must be classified as dependents.

With the H-4, they can stay in the U.S. for the same amount of time as the H-1B visa holder. However, they are not allowed to work. They may be able to go to school, get a driver’s license, or have a bank account.

What Can an Immigration Lawyer in Florida Do?

The immigration process is lengthy and costly. If you apply for a visa and fail, all your effort is wasted. And while there is no guarantee you can receive a visa, you can work with an attorney to improve your chances.

They can also explain more about the process. You may learn how likely you are to receive the visa. Furthermore, you may find out about a different visa that is better suited for your needs. There might be a shorter waiting period or better chances at a successful outcome. For instance, Mexican and Canadian citizens may be able to apply for a TN visa. Unlike the H-1B, there is no cap on this type of visa.

Before you begin the complicated visa application process, you should be fully informed of the process. Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we believe you deserve to have all of your questions answered. We can handle the application process while you worry about other things. Whether you are a U.S. employer or a foreign worker, we’re ready to help.

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