Can Your Business Take Advantage Of The H1B Visa?

Recruitment is an ever evolving aspect of any business, as your company grows, so does the list of skills to need to maintain it.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find those skills within your local labor market. Increasingly, businesses are looking to solve this issue by recruiting from further afield.

Although remote working has become a well-used go in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not always the perfect solution.

When you need to bring in a new recruit, and their role requires a physical presence then you may find yourself asking a candidate to relocate in order to fulfil the role. 

While you may be able to find a suitable candidate living in another state, there could be occasions where your recruitment search takes you outside the United States and you need to consider bringing in someone from overseas.

Although this may seems like a large step to take, there is a process in place through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which allows you to do just that, and it’s probably more common than you think.

At present, the U.S. Government grants 85,000 applications to its HB1 Visa programme every year.

The number of actual applications to the programme however far outweighs this maximum cap, and so it’s all the more important that if your business decides that this visa is the best way to meet your recruitment needs, that the application process runs smoothly. 

There are no guarantees however that an HB1 Visa application will be successful, as the applications aren’t processed on a first come, first served basis.

Instead USCIS runs a lottery system, where applications are selected randomly prior to relevant checks to both the employer and candidate.

Before we talk about what those checks entail, let’s explore the process and requirements to begin an application. 

First and foremost, remember that as a work visa, the HB1 is dependent on both a valid position being offered by a U.S. based employer, and a candidates level of qualification and suitability for the role.

There are a few different ways in which a prospective employee can show that they are a suitable match for a job role 

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They must have a relevant bachelors or higher level degree, obtained while studying at a U.S. university or college.

If their qualification was gained outside of the U.S., such as at a university in their home nation, they must prove that it holds equivalence with one obtained within the United States.

If they lack this level of qualification, or there is no relevant degree for their field, then they can show evidence of any unrestricted certification or license to practice which would allow them to work in that position.

Lastly, they can evidence the training or experience they already have within that field.

For the purpose of eligibility, 3 years of training or relevant experience is classes as equivalent to 1 year of college, and as such a candidate could require 12 years of relevant experience to cover the equivalent of a 4 year degree. 

Equally, as an employer, you need to be able to show that the role your business is recruiting for requires this level of qualification or experience.

This may mean an ability to show that the role usually requires a relevant degree or higher level qualification, or could relate to the complexity of the posts duties being out of reach for unexperienced or unqualified workers. 

As the visa is dependent on an existing job which can be offered to a candidate, the employer is responsible for initiating the visa application process.

To do this, you need to follow two steps. You need to register for the annual H1B lottery, and complete and LCA or Labor Condition Application.

The LCA shows the Department of Labor that the employer and future employee meet the requirements set forth for hiring and immigration.

Although the LCA can be submitted before or after the H1B lottery registration, it must be submitted no later than 6 months before the intended start date for the role. 

Assuming your application is selected in the lottery process, you would receive a notification through the online account created to register for the process.

You can then progress to submitting the H1B petition to USCIS. If all the required information is present and correct, and your petition is approved, you can notify your candidate who will then have their application processed by their local U.S. embassy or consulate, which once complete should allow them to travel to the United States.

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When they arrive, the candidate will then complete their application for admission with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who will issue them with their H1B visa if they meet all the necessary requirements. 

While it’s impossible to cover all of the information required to complete an H1B Visa application here, it’s easy to see is not a simple process.

It also carries cost implications for both the employer and prospective employee. The various fees for an employer such as the registration fee and basic filing fee among others can total $6470, while the employee may find themselves with costs upwards of $2690.

As such, errors in the application process can become costly, both in financial terms, and the length of time required to complete the process.

It may be useful for your organization to employ the services of experienced immigration lawyers, who would use their skills and expertise to ensure the application was completed correctly at every stage. 

Lastly, it’s important to remember that this visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it’s designed to allow someone to stay in the U.S. for a limited amount of time.

The initial term of the visa would last for 3 years, although it can be extended to a 6 year term.

While this is something that both you as the employer and the employee would need to factor into your decision, it’s also worth noting that should you both decide you’d like to make the arrangement more permanent, an H1B Visa holder can apply for a green card to remain in the United States. 

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Jonathon Spire

Jonathon Spire

Tech Blogger at Jonathon Spire

My diverse background started with my computer science degree, and later progressed to building laptops and accessories. And now, for the last 7 years, I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant.

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Jonathon Spire

I blog about a range of tech topics.

For the last 7 years I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant, so I write about those the most.

Full transparency: I do review a lot of services and I try to do it as objectively as possible; I give honest feedback and only promote services I believe truly work (for which I may or may not receive a commission) – if you are a service owner and you think I have made a mistake then please let me know in the comments section.

– Jon