Each year, thousands of employers in the United States hire foreign nationals to join their businesses and organizations. These foreign workers often bring highly specialized knowledge to their respective fields, add cultural diversity to the workplace and help U.S. employers maintain competitive advantage in the global market. Despite the many benefits that these foreign nationals bring to the U.S. economy, business immigration procedures are often complex and the legal processes are overwhelming.
Our firm will guide you through the maze of immigration processes, from the hiring to the transfer of foreign workers. With our experience working with all types of organizations and businesses and our vast knowledge of United States citizenship and immigration law, we can help you explore the options for work authorization and assist you with the documentation requirements necessary to obtain the appropriate visa.
Temporary Nonimmigrant Work Visas
H-1B Specialty Workers Visa
One option available to employers is the H-1B Visa which allows businesses to sponsor highly skilled foreign nationals in specialized occupations to come work in the United States on a temporary basis. These specialty occupations include, but are not limited to: IT, Computing, Finance, Accounting, Banking, Engineering, Teaching, Medical, Legal, and Telecommunications. To qualify for the H-1B Visa, foreign nationals must have a minimum of a Bachelors degree in their specialized fields.
In order to obtain an H-1B Visa, the employer must submit a completed Labor Condition Application which outlines that 1) the employment of the foreign national does not harm American workers, 2) the foreign worker will be paid the prevailing wage for the industry in which they will work, and 3) the employer will not employ the foreign national in the event of a strike or lock-out. Once the application is approved, the employer must file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The United States Government places a cap on the number of foreign workers, issuing a limited number of H-1B Visas per year. With great demand and limited supply, it is important that you consult an attorney who understands the extremely detailed process of obtaining work authorization in the U.S. We assist in the preparation of the petition, application and review all supporting documentation to ensure that you do not fall victim to the common H-1B Visa pitfalls which lead to the rejection of many applications each year.
H-1C Nurse Work Visa
The H-1C Visa program allows foreign nurses to work in the United States for a maximum of three years in a health professional field where there is a labor shortage. In order to obtain the H-1C Visa, the nurse must be fully licensed in the country of his/her professional education and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Just a few hundred H-1C Visas are issued to qualified candidates each year. It is important to note that individual states also impose a cap on H-1C Visas dependent upon the latest population figures. Our firm can help you determine specific state restrictions, demonstrate eligibility and assist you in the preparations of all H-1C documentation.
H-2 Temporary or Seasonal Work Visa
The H-2 Visa allows employers to bring temporary workers to the United States to fill a job opening for a specified time period up to one continuous year. The employment must be a one-time need based opening due to a labor shortage in the United States, or be fulfilling a temporary or cyclical need. In order to obtain an H-2 Visa, the employer must obtain a Temporary Labor Certificate from the United States Department of Labor asserting that no American workers will be displaced by the hiring of foreign nationals, and that the foreign national will be paid the prevailing wage for American workers in the same position. Once the employer has obtained the Temporary Labor Certificate, a petition must be filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services verifying that the position is temporary. The H-2 Visa process varies depending on whether the foreign worker is an agricultural or non-agricultural worker. Contact our firm to discuss the necessary requirements to obtain temporary worker authorization through the H-2 Visa program.
H-3 Professional Training Visa
Companies that have training programs to educate individuals in a specific industry are able to sponsor foreign participants by obtaining the H-3 Visa. The H-3 visa allows foreign nationals to temporarily live in the United States for a specified period of time (the duration of their training) in order to train with a U.S.-based company in various occupations including commerce, agriculture, finance, government and business. It is important to note that individuals receiving medical training are not eligible for this Visa program.
In order to qualify for the H-3 Visa, an individual must be invited by an organization, company or American citizen for training which is not available in the foreign national’s home country. Applicants seeking the H-3 Visa must file a petition proving that they will not be employed in the United States beyond what is necessary for their training and that the experience will benefit the trainee in pursuing a career outside the U.S. upon the completion of the program. Although there is no cap on the number of H-3 Visas issued each year, it is important to consult with an attorney who has experience with business immigration to ensure the proper steps are taken in each phase of the application and petition process.
O-1 Extraordinary Ability Work Visa
Businesses may hire foreign employees with “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics” to come work temporarily in the United States. A genetic engineer who has written extensively on modified food or an Olympic athlete who has won multiple medals in their respective sport are examples of qualified applicants for the O-1 Visa. In order to qualify for this visa program, the foreign national must prove their high level of expertise in a given field by winning an internationally-recognized award, such as the Noble Prize, or by meeting three of the following criteria to prove extraordinary ability:
- Professional publications written by others documenting the individual’s work in a particular field.
- Evidence of the foreign national’s participation as a judge on the work of others within their field of specialty.
- Membership in an association in the field of extraordinary ability, which requires outstanding achievement for membership.
- Evidence of the foreign national’s original significant contribution in his or her respective field.
- Evidence of the foreign worker’s authorship of articles in the field published in major media or professional journals.
- Evidence of past employment with distinguished organizations or establishments which serve as an authority in the field of endeavor.
- Evidence of high salary for services in relation to other peers in the field.
The O-1 Visa is granted for an initial stay of three years; however, the Visa may be extended in one year increments for the duration of the foreign employee’s work in the United States. Unlike most of the temporary nonimmigrant visas, there is no maximum length of stay in the U.S. for holders of the O-1 Visa. Our attorneys can assist you in obtaining an advisory opinion to prove eligibility and aid in the preparation of the O-1 petition and supporting documentation.
L-1 Multinational Corporation Employee
Multinational companies with multiple locations in the United States and abroad may sponsor foreign employees to join a U.S. branch by obtaining the L-1 Visa. In order to be eligible for this visa, an individual must have worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year prior to relocating to the United States. Two types of employees may be eligible for the L-1 Visa:
- Managers and Executives who hold a supervisory role within the company may apply for the L-1A Visa for a maximum of seven years.
- Employees with specialized knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, systems, management, operations or procedures which is not widely held or available in the United States may be eligible for the L-1B Visa. These individuals may remain in the United States for a maximum of five years.
Employers may petition for foreign national employees through the regular L-1 Visa procedure, submitting a petition for each individual employee, or by filing a Blanket L-1 Visa petition which allows the employer to apply for the L-1 Visa on behalf of multiple employees under a single petition. Generally, blanket petitions are only available for larger corporations as certain criteria must be met. Once the Blanket L-1 is approved, employers have greater flexibility in transferring employees to the United States. Our immigration attorneys can assist you in determining if your business qualifies for the regular or blanket L-1 Visa petition.