Successful start-up and small companies that wish to grow usually begin with a clear roadmap to achieve their goals. This plan includes objectives, timelines, staffing requirements, and plenty of action plans.
In some technical areas, the staffing challenges can be the most significant hurdle to achieving overall objectives. While there may be plenty of specialized expertise in the United States, the right people may not be available, either because they are otherwise employed or are unwilling to relocate. In these instances, smaller companies may need to look beyond the United States to find specially qualified and educated individuals that can help execute the plan. While large companies do this regularly, the same approach would apply to smaller companies.
Bringing qualified foreign employees into the United States for essential positions most commonly requires the issuance of an H1B visa, a non-immigrant visa created by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to allow companies to employ qualified foreign workers for specialty positions.
While some large company managers and human resource departments participate routinely in this process, how does a small or start-up company take advantage of this opportunity? The simple answer is that the requirements are the same for small businesses, though each applicant must demonstrate their financial viability and ability to compensate the foreign employee during their stay.
There are several other hurdles and documentation required that often require immigration to help navigate the process with a higher chance of success.
What is an H1B Visa?
An H1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa designed to allow qualified companies to sponsor non-citizens to come to the United States and work in specialized jobs. The individual should have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in the prospective position. Once granted, the individual may remain in the United States for three years. At the end of that time, companies may reapply for an additional three years for a total of six years.
The USCIS currently maintains a quota of 65,000 H1B visas per year. An additional 20,000 more H1B visas are reserved for recipients of Masters degrees or more. Definitions of some typical professions and potential job descriptions are outlined on the USCIS website.
Because the number of applications annually surpasses the quotas, the USCIS has created a lottery. In 2015, according to upcounsel.com, the number of qualified employer applicants equaled three times the number of those accepted for working visas.
What is the H1B Visa Process?
As outlined by USCIS, requesting sponsorship for an H-1B candidate requires a 3-step process:
- Step 1: The employer begins by presenting a complete and accurate Labor Condition Application (LCA) Form 9035 to the Department of Labor. The application must be approved before submitting to the USCIS. Additionally, the employer must inform existing employees of the intent to hire a foreign worker in a public access notice. The LCA requires that the employer will not pay the international employee at a rate less than existing employees, may not be involved in a current labor stoppage, dispute or strike, and that union officials have been notified, where applicable.
- Step 2: The employer files a completed Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the USCIS. The application should also include the certified Department of Labor approval of the LCA.
- Step 3: The prospective foreign employee applies to the Department of State at the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate. Here the individual will prove qualifications for the H-1B visa. Also, the individual will apply to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for admission under the visa.
For first-time employer applicants, these processes require considerable preparation, compliance, and accuracy. any problem will result in failure or a substantial waste of effort. The complexities of the process demand representation by a professional immigration lawyer. In Dallas, Davis & Associates immigration law firm is experienced in the successful handling of this type of visa application. Professionals understand the process and can save time and headaches that usually considered complicated bureaucratic procedures.
Small and Start-Up Companies and H-1B Visas
After the LCA process, the process becomes challenging for smaller or start-up companies. USCIS must ensure that the company has the financial stability to maintain the employee during the period of employment. The prospective employer should show such elements as cash flow, current contracts, balance sheets, and income statements and even tax returns. Professional legal counsel is vital to ensure the application is correct and complete.
Contact Davis & Associates
The experienced Davis & Associate immigration lawyers have been successful in positioning smaller companies in their quest to bring in essential foreign employees through the H-1B visa process. Contact Davis & Associates in Dallas TX for a free consultation to discuss the correct procedure for achieving success.
Call (214) 999-1942 to schedule a free consultation.