Companies desiring to hire professionals usually turn to the H-1B nonimmigrant visa category. While this is the most popular, it is also one of the most highly regulated. We have been successful in assisting employers in filing H-1B petitions for accountants, software engineers, teachers, optometrists, and landscape architects. Other professional petitions include international legal specialists, life science market research analysts, musical therapists, and acupuncturists. The list goes on. We can help you determine if your situation fits the requirements of this category.
The basic requirements of the H-1B category are that the position being offered is one that normally requires at least a bachelor's degree in a specific field, the foreign national has such a degree or its equivalent in work experience, and the employer is willing to pay the required wage as determined by U.S. Department of Labor. Employers must also be aware that there is a limited number of H-1B visas available each fiscal year. Therefore timing is critical.
In addition to the H-1B, individuals from certain countries may want to consider other visa options for professionals that offer employment authorization. These include the following:
- TN for Canadians and Mexicans
- H-1B1 for Singaporeans and Chileans
- E-3 for Australians
Count on your Clark Lau LLC team to navigate you through the requirements and different steps of each of these options. We can help you anticipate the challenges ahead and consider options that are most appropriate for your situation.
Companies who do business in the U.S. and abroad may transfer certain employees to the U.S. using the L-1 nonimmigrant visa category. The employee must have been employed abroad in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position for at least 365 days within the last three years. The position in the U.S. must also be managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge in nature. And, the foreign employer must be a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or joint venture of the U.S. company.
The landscape for L-1 petitions is becoming more challenging. About 50% of petitions filed are being questioned and many applicants are being turned away at the consulates, even after a petition approval from the immigration services. While the standards of what is acceptable in the L-1 category continue to shift, we monitor the trends and try to anticipate the information that the immigration services will require in advance. This saves you time and resources. And, when the government does ask for more, we will work with you to develop a strategy to respond.
An often overlooked area of immigration services is employer compliance. While individuals are responsible to ensure that they have proper permission from the U.S. government to remain and work in the U.S., employers are also responsible for ensuring that all of their employees have proper employer authorization to work for them.
Employers are required to have employees, regardless of immigration status, complete a Form I-9 upon the start of employment.
The Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security are also jointly administering the E-Verify program. Contact our offices to help you determine what your requirements are.