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  • Manuela Muttoni

H-1B Specialty Occupations

Purpose:

The H-1B visa is available to professionals in specialty occupations. A specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in the specific specialty (e.g. sciences, medicine, health care, education, biotechnology, and business specialties, etc.). Only 65,000 bachelor degree-based H-1Bs and 20,000 U.S. master degree-based H-1Bs are available each fiscal year. Applications are submitted the first 5 business days of April, a lottery is conducted because the category is usually oversubscribed, and if a case is chosen in the lottery and accepted, the earliest employment start date would be October 1 of that same year.

Requirements:

1. Professional assignment must be a specialty occupation (one that requires at least a bachelor’s to be performed properly) and the Beneficiary qualifies for the specialty occupation (meaning the beneficiary possesses the minimum requirements for the position)

2. There should be an H-1B visa number available for an initial petition

3. The US Employer must conduct attestations on a labor condition application:

(i) The employer must attest that the H-1B employee will be paid the greater of either the actual or the prevailing wage

(ii) The employer must provide H-1B workers with the same working conditions and benefits offered to similarly-employed U.S. workers

(iii) The employer must attest that the employment of H-1B workers will not adversely affect the working conditions (such as hours, vacations, and benefits) of similarly-employed U.S. workers.

(iv) The employer must also attest that there is no strike, lockout, or work stoppage on the date the labor condition is filed.

4. Valid employment relationship between Employer and visa Beneficiary

5. Detailed support letter required.

Status duration: 6 years total; initially given 3 years, may be renewed for another 3 years (if certain requirements are met, can be eligible for extension beyond the 6-year limit)

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