Some companies have difficulty finding workers to fill positions that require highly technical skills. To draw from a larger pool of job candidates, U.S. businesses sometimes recruit workers from other countries. After locating a suitable candidate from a foreign country, the employer is responsible for much of the process of obtaining an H-1B visa for the employee.
The H-1B visa provides authorization to the visa holder to work exclusively for the sponsoring employer. Therefore, the holder of an H-1B visa usually cannot change employers or start a new business. If you are the owner or manager of a company seeking to sponsor a foreign worker, you may need an attorney to help comply with the requirements of multiple government agencies.
U.S. Department of Labor
Before the employee can apply for a visa, your company must submit a labor condition application (LCA) to the U.S. Department of Labor. The purpose of the LCA is to allow the DOL to verify that the proposed job position meets certain requirements in regard to pay and working conditions. Once your LCA is certified, you are ready to proceed with the next step of the H-1B process.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
A certified LCA is necessary in order for your company to petition the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of the worker. USCIS requires you to submit USCIS Form I-149, also known as the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The approval of your petition is only a middle step in the visa application process. Approval of Form I-149 allows your prospective employee to apply for a visa on their own behalf.
U.S. Department of State
Visa applications are processed by the U.S. Department of State. If your future employee is outside the U.S., they will need to contact a U.S. consulate or embassy. In some cases, the worker you intend to sponsor may already be in the U.S. on a temporary student visa.
Some foreign students who possess a work permit are already employed and demonstrating their occupational skills on a limited basis. However, the H-1B status is generally for workers with at least the equivalent of an undergraduate college degree. A foreign student in the U.S. on a temporary visa can apply for H-1B status after all the required prerequisites are met.
There are additional visa categories applicable to foreign workers and their families. Contact an immigration attorney's office, such as Tesoroni & Leroy, for assistance in navigating the visa application process.