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Specialty Occupations: H-1B Visa

U.S. Work Permits for Specialty Occupations H–1B Visa

The H-1B visa is also known as the "Person in Specialty Occupation" visa. It is described as a visa for those who want to enter the U.S. in order to work in a specialty occupation that requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

Just as is the case with all work-related visas, the H-1B has specific requirements that must be met in order to qualify. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lists these requirements as:

  • Showing an employer-employee relationship with a petitioning U.S. employer - What this means is you must have a relationship in which your U.S. employer has the power to hire, pay, fire, supervise and control the work you do while in the country through the H-1B visa
  • The job must qualify as a "specialty occupation" under at least one of the specific criteria. These criteria are:
    • A bachelor degree or graduate degree is required to do the job
    • The complexity of the degree necessary for the work means it may only be done by someone with at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to it
    • The employer usually demands a degree for that job or
    • The nature of the work is so complex that the knowledge essential to the work is normally associated with an advanced degree (at least a bachelor's)
  • The job must be in a specialized occupation that relates to the field of study of the foreign worker (i.e. you and/or the employer may provide evidence that similar companies in your industry or field require similar degrees for the job you will do on the H-1B visa)
  • You must be paid the prevailing wage
  • There must still be an H-1B visa available (unless there is no limit in your field). Typically, there is a cap of 65,000 visas in the H-1B category. According to the USCIS website, "Cap numbers are often used up very quickly, so it is important to plan in advance if you will be filing for an H-1B visa that is subject to the annual H-1B numerical cap."

If your work qualifies under these requirements, then your employer must submit the proper documentation for certification. This is known as a Labour Condition Application (LCA) and is submitted to the Department of Labour.

Free Download: How H-1B Visa Holders Can Move to Canada

Obviously, there are many significant issues related to this matter, and it is always best to work with an experienced immigration lawyer in order to facilitate the entire process. There is a great deal of documentation required from both the employer and employee, and it is best that a qualified professional provides support along the way.

Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

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I originally contacted Evelyn to assist us in developing expatriate practices for the company I was working with many years ago. I have been extremely pleased with the support, organization, professionalism and keen sense of urgency that they carryout in all of the work that they have completed.

Over the years, I have engaged Evelyn and her team for immigration business matters and continue to refer them to my network and colleagues.

– Ann Gosselin, BAdmin, CHRP, RPR, Manager, Human Resources

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