Working Nonimmigrant Visas For the United States

Aliens from all over the world coming to the United States to work as nonimmigrants may fall under H-1B, H-IC, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, (nonimmigrant working or training visa), R-1 (nonimmigrant religious visa), I (nonimmigrant media representatives visa), D crewperson (nonimmigrant landing permit), J-1 (nonimmigrant exchange, trainee)., A and G (nonimmigrant diplomatic visa), O and P (nonimmigrant entertainment visa), L-1 (nonimmigrant intra-company transferee visa), and TN (nonimmigrant visa for professional Canadians and Mexicans).

Whether an alien qualifies for a nonimmigrant working (or training) visa depends on whether the requirements of the particular visa can be complied with by the alien applicant or beneficiary.

Nonimmigrant Working and Training Visas: H-1b, H-1c, H-2a, H-2b, H-3, and J-1:

This category covers nonimmigrant working or training visas for business personnel of companies operating in the United States. It permits employment in the United States for longer duration and facilitates temporary visa consultancy residence for the duration of the allowed stay.

Each visa or status requires the prior approval of a U.S. employer’s or trainor’s petition, which states the qualifications of the alien beneficiary or trainee and the requirements of the position.

1. H-1B: Specialty Occupation:

The annual cap of 65,000 H-1B visas is reduced to 58,200 after deducting 6,800 H-1B1 visas for Chile and Singapore. H-1B employer can file the petition on April 01 of each year and even thereafter, if the annual cap is not used up.

The U.S. petitioner-employer is required to submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that such application (ETA 9035E) in the occupational specialty has been electronically filed thereat and monitored at ICertPortal.

The filing fee for the Form I-129 petition to be paid by the employer totals $2,320 ($320 + $1,500) (or $750 if employer has 25 or less employees) + one time $500 fraud fee), payable to the Department of Homeland Security.

Not all occupations are specialty occupations, which require a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a 4-year bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty or its equivalent, as the minimum entry requirement for the occupation.

The employer must pay 100 percent of the prevailing wage now determined by the DOL National Prevailing Wage Help Center in Washington, D.C., at the time of filing the LCA. The employer is also required to maintain a public access file within one day after the LCA filing, and post notice of the LCA filing in two (2) locations for ten (10) days.

An H-1B petition may be approved up to three (3) years with extensions up to maximum of six (6) years, and beyond, if a Form I-140 employment-based petition has been filed and pending for at least 365 days prior to the 6th year limit.

2. H-1C: Foreign-Trained Nurses:

Limited (500 visas per year, 25 visas for State with nine (9) million or less population and 50 visas for State with over nine (9) million population) H-1C visas are issued to foreign-trained registered nurses licensed to practice in the State and to work temporarily at hospitals in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAA), as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and determined by the DOL.

Initial period of stay is up to three (3) years and limited to three (3) years. But this classification had expired on December 20, 2009.

3. H-2A, H-2B, H-3 and J-1 (Agriculture/Seasonal/Trainees):

(a) H-2A visas are for foreign workers to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work at the time and place where there are insufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, and available to do the work.

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