The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit and employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations within the U.S. for a specified period of time. The H-1B program provides the opportunity for foreign workers in specialty occupations to legally live and work in the U.S. for a total of 6 consecutive years, and entitles their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to accompany them and legally live in the U.S. on an H-4 visa.
To qualify, the U.S. employer must demonstrate that the position offered is in a specialty occupation and that the foreign employee has the appropriate credentials for the job. A specialty occupation is one that generally requires a bachelor’s degree or higher degree (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation. The U.S. employer is required to verify that the H-1B visa worker will be paid the prevailing wage which is set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor. The deadline to submit the H-1B application is April 1st of every year with a employment start date of October 1st. The H-1B Visa has cap of 65,000 petitions and with a Master’s cap providing for 20,000 petitions. The H1-B annual cap is usually met within a few days of submission and the selection of H-1B petitions are based upon a lottery.