What do I need to know if I want to sponsor a foreign national for an employment visa here in the United States?
Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer with the Hacking Immigration Law, practicing law out of our office here in St. Luis, Missouri. We've a lot of people contact our office, both employers and employees, and there seems to be some confusion about what kind of jobs are available for an H-1B employment visa. The H-1B visa, of course is the visa that allows foreign nationals to work in the United States for up to 6 years in a specialty occupation.
That, my friends, is the key word, specialty occupation. We spend a lot of time talking to our clients, and explain to them what is, and what is not a specialty occupation. Now, you can't just get a list of jobs and assume that some are, and some aren't specialty occupations, there are some guidelines, and some rules that govern this. The main question when you're thinking about an employment visa, is whether or not the job requires a college degree, and it's not just any college degree, it has to be a college degree in he field of study that the job requires. In other words, you can't have a degree in psychology and hope to go to work as a software engineer, you have to have a software engineering degree, or a computer science degree, or something along those lines that fits within the norm of the industry.
A lot of times, employers or employees will think that they're clever, and that they've come up with a work around in the specialty occupation requirement. Sometimes the beneficiary of the visa, the person who wants the job, might not have the academic credentials to qualify for the particular specialty occupation's educational requirement. They try to be cute and clever, and the employer says, "Well, sometimes we allow none degreed people, or people who don't have a specific degree to fulfill this position." That can be a real problem, it sounds real good, but it doesn't work, and the reason it doesn't work, it's because one of the main inquiries is, what is the industry norm? Does the industry normally require a foreign national to have a specific degree in a specific field for this occupation?
A lot of times, people that contact us are sort of sad about that, because they've been hoping that they had outwitted the immigration service, but sad to say, the immigration service has seen a lot, they've heard a lot of these things before. In fact, they have a lot of people that scrutinize this applications for this very issue. I would say that one of the main issues that request for evidence or issued, which is the mechanism whereby the immigration service asks for more material or information before deciding or denying a case, is the request for evidence. One of the main things that you get a request for evidence on, is whether or not the job qualifies as a specialty occupation.
The further outside the norm of positions and professions that the USCIS is used to giving H-1Bs for, the harder it's going to be for you to get an H-1B through the specialty occupation category. You're going to have to show that the beneficiary has the academic chops, the school history, and maybe the work history to fulfill the posted position. If you can't, your going to have a real problem. With any kind of job, you need to make sure it's a specialty occupation, it can't be something menial, it can't be something low-level, it has to be something that requires a college degree in this specific field.
If you have any questions about specialty occupations, or you need some help analyzing whether or not an H-1B is the visa for you or for one your employees, make sure to give us a call at 314-9618200 or you can email us at [email protected].
We hope you like this video, we're going to try and shoot some more employment videos between now and next April, when the H-1B season is under way. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us. If you like this video, please be sure to like it on the like button below, and subscribe to our Youtube channel so that you get updates whenever we shoot one of these new videos. Thanks a lot, have a good day.
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