As a small business owner, you may not be aware that you can sponsor H-1B workers – and that may be the perfect solution if you’re trying to meet staffing requirements with specialized workers.
First, you need to know:
- What an H-1B visa is
- How to sponsor workers on H1B visas
- Where to turn for help
What Is An H-1B Visa?
An H-1B Employment Visa is an employment-based nonimmigrant visa. It allows a company to bring in temporary workers.
The workers you hire must have at least a bachelor’s degree (or a foreign equivalent), and their total stay is limited to 6 years. Initially, your workers’ visas are approved for 3 years; then, they can extend for an additional 3 years. There’s also a dependent category for an H-1B visa (the H-4 visa) that covers each worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
How To Sponsor Workers On H-1B Visas
In order to qualify as a sponsor for H-1B visas, you must show that:
- The position for which you’re hiring requires knowledge gained through a higher education or special training
- The position requires a specific course of study
- Performance in the position requires a bachelor’s degree
Your employee must also show:
- State licensure for the job, if required
- A completed degree in a field directly related to the job or equivalent experience
- Expertise in the field
You, as the employer, must file the petition on your employee’s behalf. These are the steps you need to follow:
1. File A Labor Condition Application, Or LCA, With The U.S. Department Of Labor.
The LCA contains several statements, including that you attest to the fact that hiring people on H-1B visas won’t adversely affect any native U.S. workers. You must also state that:
- You will pay the worker the prevailing wage for that job
- You’ll provide the employee with the same benefits as others in that position would enjoy
- There’s no active labor dispute in place when you file
2. Submit A Completed Form I-129 To United States Customs And Immigration Services.
You’re responsible for filling out and filing a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. You must submit your completed and certified LCA with the form if you’re hiring for a specialty occupation or a fashion model.
3. Have Prospective Workers Apply For A Visa.
Once your Form I-129 has been approved, the worker you intend to hire can apply for an H-1B visa through the Department of State by visiting a U.S. embassy or consulate. The worker must also apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for admission to the U.S.
More Information On How Small Companies Can Sponsor H-1B Workers
There’s a limit to the number of H-1B visas the U.S. government will issue each year. The first 20,000 petitions from people who have a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. (You can get information on each year’s cap here.)
Do You Need An Immigration Attorney To Help Your Small Company Sponsor H-1B Workers?
Most business owners and entrepreneurs find that it’s a lot simpler to work with a Miami immigration attorney when it comes to sponsoring H-1B workers – and it might be easier for you, too. We may be able to help you give your business the kick-start it needs.