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H1-B Visas

Many people come to Michigan and the rest of the United States because it is seen as the land of opportunity. People often come to this country for educational opportunities or job prospects and this triggers immigration issues.

Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the law office of Richard M. Pierce, P.C. is known for helping people with “specialty occupations” obtain H1-B visas that allow them to work in the United States. “Specialty occupations” are jobs which normally require at least a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field in order to perform the duties of the job. We are here to help you capitalize on your accomplishments by making the immigration process as smooth as possible. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation at our office.

One of the most important considerations of applying for an H1-B visa is that law places a basic quota (limit on) of 65,000 on the number of these types of visas that will be granted in any given year. Some types of employers are exempt from the quota; these included U.S. universities/colleges; some organizations affiliated with them; certain types of U.S. government research institutions; and, some, tax exempt, nonprofit research institutions. Due to bilateral agreements with Singapore and Chile, 6,800 of these H1-B visas are set aside for applicants from these countries. It is important to note that in addition to the 65,000 number mentioned above, an additional 20,000 visas are made available to persons holding an advanced degree from U.S. universities. For employers subject to the quota, the application period opens on April 1 of every year. Since the limits may be reached quickly, it is often important that you file early and are aware of these dates. It is required that an employer file the Petition for you; you may not “self-sponsor.”

Our lawyers are not only conscious of these enrollment periods and deadlines, but our detailed approach is meant to ensure that your application is completed properly and timely submitted. Some of the issues components that must be considered include:

  • In order to ber eligible, it is required that you have the necessary degree by the time th case is submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Service (“CIS”). If you are in the United States to complete a master’s degree, you must complete the degree before you file. If you are in optional practical training which will expire before October 1 and are the Beneficiary of a Petition filed for H-1B status, you may be able to continue to work in OPT while waiting for the H-1B to start.
  • Although specialty occupations require at least a bachelors degree, it may be possible to qualify for H-1B status based upon a combination of education and work experience (or work experience only). If relying upon experience to get to the equivalency of a bachelor’s degree, three years of professional experience MAY be able to be evaluated to equal one year of the required four years of college. Accordingly, in theory twelve years of professional experience may be equated to four years of college/university. Any foreign degree or work experience which you wish to count toward the degree must be evaluated by recognized evaluation organizations.
  • Specialty jobs include, but are not limited to: accountants; lawyers; teachers; actuarial jobs; market researchers; statisticians; or science, technology engineering or mathematics (STEM) related jobs.
  • If you are enrolled in a STEM related degree and miss the quota, you may extend your H1-B visa for 17 months by opting to do optional training in your chosen profession in order to apply and fall within the quota the next year.
  • The Petition may be approved initially for an H1-B visa that is good for up to three years; this status may be renewed for another three years. An extension beyond this six year time period may be obtained if the applicant is far enough into the lawful permanent residency (“green card”) process. This may occur in two ways. First, if the portion of the green card case with the Department of Labor (labor certification or ‘PERM’) has been pending for at least one year before the six year H-1B term expires, H1-B status may be extended for one year at a time until a final decision on the green card case has been made. Second, if the green card Petition has been approved by the CIS, H-1B status may be extended for three years at a time until a final decision is made on the LPR case.
  • Employers must pay for any attorney fees or filing fees related to an H1-B Petition. They also must agree to pay a salary which is the higher of either what is called the prevailing wage (determined in one of a number of different methods) or what the employer is paying other people in the company who have the same job and same background.

We can help you with all of these factors when applying for an H1-B work visa. Our thorough understanding of immigration law allows us not only to help people petition for this type of work visa successfully, but allows us to use this knowledge to help them obtain a green card and citizenship as well. Contact us today so we can help you get started on maximizing your job opportunities.