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How to Secure Your H-1B Visa: A Practical Guide for International Professionals and Their US Employers

Book Description

The H-1B visa is the gateway for the world's best and brightest to live and work in the United States as IT professionals, engineers, scientists, professors, doctors, nurses, and researchers. How to Secure Your H-1B Visa guides employees and employers alike through the maze of H-1B laws, policies, and procedures. This road map lays out the whole H-1B process from petition to visa to status maintenance to visa extension and, ultimately, to permanent residence in the US for you and your family. It shows you step by step exactly how the H-1B process divides up between the employer and employee. It identifies the points where the two tracks converge and the H-1B employer and employee need to pull in tandem.

Navigation icons tell you at a glance whether a topic concerns employees and employers equally or primarily one or the other. Sidebars highlight pitfalls, liabilities, and disasters to avoid; tips and exceptions to leverage for success; administrative and enforcement trends and late-breaking changes; and special conditions that apply to nationals of particular countries, such as India and China. Ancillary chapters cover complementary visas for family members and H-1B substitute visas for professionals with particular skill sets or from particular countries, such as Australia and Canada.

The authors are Silicon Valley immigration lawyers with 60 years combined experience handling professional work visas. Whether you are an international professional desiring to work in the US for the first time, an international student in the US wishing to remain after graduation, or a hiring manager or HR specialist for a sponsoring entity, this short book will show you how to secure, maintain, and leverage your H-1B visa and answer all your questions about:

  • quotas and exemptions

  • RFEs and consular interviews

  • dual representation by the employer's lawyer

  • LCA compliance, auditing, and penalties

  • serial H-1B employers

  • termination and benching regulations

  • reconciling filing deadlines with expiration dates

  • transitioning from academic to affiliated to private H-1B employment

What you'll learn

As a result of reading How to Secure Your H-1B Visa, foreign professionals will learn:

  • How to optimize the outcome of your non-immigrant skilled worker visa petition

  • How to ace your interview at a US embassy or consulate and answer an RFE

  • How to maintain or change your and your family's status in the US

Managers of US companies with skilled worker needs will learn:

  • How to include international professionals in the development of your HR strategies

  • How to coach your foreign hires to cooperate in the petition process and avoid pitfalls

  • How to avoid fines, penalties, and other hazards

Who this book is for

This is a practical, accessible, and affordable short book for both individual foreign professionals (especially IT workers) who want or already have an H1-B non-immigrant specialty occupation work visa (or a treaty-substitute or alternative visa to the H1-B) and also for their US corporate sponsors (especially small-to-medium enterprises and startups in the IT sector), showing foreign employees and US employers how to work in perfect sync to nail that H1-B visa, hang on to it, and leverage it.

Table of Contents

  1. Titlepage
  2. Dedication
  3. Contents
  4. About the Authors
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Chapter 1: Introduction
    1. What Is an H-1B Visa?
    2. Advantages and Disadvantages of H-1B Status for Employers
    3. Benefits and Challenges of H-1B Status for Employees
  7. Chapter 2: Overview of the H-1B Petition Procedure
    1. US Government Agencies Involved in the H-1B Visa Process
    2. The Importance of Being Earnest
  8. Chapter 3: The H-1B Annual Quota
    1. Quota History
    2. Quota Exemptions
  9. Chapter 4: Eligibility for H-1B Status
    1. General Requirements of H-1B Petitions
    2. Employee Requirements
    3. Job Requirements
    4. Examples of Difficult H-1B Eligibility Cases
    5. Conclusion
  10. Chapter 5: Complementary Roles of the H-1B Employee, Sponsor, and Attorney
    1. The Role of the Prospective H-1B Employee
    2. The Role of the Hiring Manager
    3. The Role of the Employer’s Human Resources Department
    4. The Role of the Immigration Attorney
    5. Conclusion
  11. Chapter 6: Employer Inputs to the H-1B Process
    1. Preparing the Job Description and Drafting Minimum Requirements
    2. Company Information
    3. The Labor Condition Application
    4. Filing Fees
    5. Technology Export Control
    6. Reviewing and Signing Forms and Letter
    7. Components of the H-1B Petition
    8. Responding to a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)
  12. Chapter 7: Employee Inputs to the H-1B Process
    1. Résumé Drafting
    2. Supporting Documentation
    3. Request for Evidence
    4. Visa Application at the US Embassy or Consulate
    5. Entry into the United States
  13. Chapter 8: Labor Condition Application (LCA) Compliance
    1. The Required Wage
    2. LCA Notice Posting Requirements
    3. H-1B Dependent Employers
    4. Formal Requirements of the LCA File
    5. Employment in More Than One Location: LCA Requirement for Each Long-Term Site
  14. Chapter 9: H-1B Investigations and Penalties
    1. The Honor System
    2. How Important Is Compliance with the LCA Rules?
    3. Processing of LCA Audits
    4. The Penalties for LCA Violations
    5. USCIS Site Visits to Detect Fraud
  15. Chapter 10: Maintaining H-1B Status
    1. Make Sure You Are Familiar with the Details
    2. Paying Attention to Expiration Dates
    3. Changing H-1B Employers
    4. Vulnerability for Certain LCA Violations
    5. Permissible Side Activities
    6. International Travel
    7. Change of Address Notification
    8. Issues for Employers
    9. Extending the 6-Year Limit on H-1Bs
  16. Chapter 11: Termination of H-1B Employment
    1. Strategies for H-1B Employees
    2. Requirements for Employers
    3. Employee Penalties for Ending the Employment Early
  17. Chapter 12: H-1B Alternatives
    1. L-1 Visas for Intracompany Transferees
    2. Sometimes It Is Faster to Get a Green Card Than an H-1B Visa!
    3. H-1B Substitute Visas for Nationals of Certain Treaty Countries
    4. B-1 Visitors for Business
    5. Employment Authorization of Students (OPT)
    6. J-1 Visas for Trainees or Interns
    7. O-1 Visas for People Outstanding in Their Field
    8. Q-1 Visas for Language and Culture Teachers
  18. Summary
  19. Appendix 4
    1. 4-1. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Entry for “Computer Support Specialists”1
    2. 4-2. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Entry for “Software Developers”2
  20. Appendix 5
    1. 5-1. Dual Representation and Conflict of Interest Disclosure Notice and Consent
  21. Appendix 6
    1. 6-1. AAO Processing Times as of October 1, 20121
  22. Appendix 8
    1. 8-1. Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP)1
    2. 8-2. OES Prevailing Wage Guidance2
    3. 8-3. Worksheet for Use in Determining OES Wage Level3
    4. 8-4. DOL Guidance for Private Surveys4
  23. Appendix 9
    1. 9-1. Audit Letter
  24. Appendix 10
    1. 10-1. Efren Hernandez Letter on When Amended H-1B is Required
  25. Index