H-1b – Employment Visa

H-1B classification is designed to allow U.S. employers to recruit & employ foreign professionals in specialty occupations. Foreign workers must possess at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. If an alien does not meet the educational requirements, experience or training may be substituted, whereby 3 years of professional experience is considered equivalent to 1 year of college education.

Occupations that qualify for H-1B require highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including, but not limited to: IT, Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Scientific Research, Medicine, Law, and Finance. In addition, foreign nationals entering the U.S. to offer services related to projects administered by the U.S. Department of Defense, professional nurses entering the U.S. to perform complex job duties, or supervise nursing operations, and distinguished fashion models are eligible for H-1B.

Subcategory of H-1B visas is the H-1B3 - classification designated for fashion models. Fashion models don't need to meet the specialty occupation requirements. Instead, they must show that they are nationally or internationally recognized for their achievements, and will be employed in a position requiring a model of distinguished merit and ability. The models must be renowned, leading, or well known.

Aside from the requirement that the position be a specialty occupation, the employer must first file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor. An employer filed LCA attests that the H1B visa worker is being paid the prevailing wage for the work being performed, and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

The initial H-1B visa may be issued for up to 3 years. It may then be extended in the first instance for up to 2 years, and later on for 1 year, for a maximum of 6 consecutive years. The maximum number of visas is capped at 65,000 per fiscal year; counted from October 1 to September 30. An additional 20,000 are available specifically to those individuals who have received a Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.

H-4 visas are issued to H-1 spouse and children under 21. H-4 holders are permitted to attend school but not permitted to work.

To apply for a Green Card, the sponsoring employer must first file PERM application with the Department of Labor, and once it gets approved, file Petition for Alien Worker.

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