Government processes can seem daunting, and the H-1B application process is one complex process that has a lot on the line if you are a business, your company’s innovation and productivity often are linked to successfully bringing in foreign talent, and if you are the employee, your livelihood and future in the United States weigh in the balance.
While the road to obtaining an H-1B visa can be tedious, it is a process that is well worth it. The technology sector, along with other STEM fields closely knit to the H-1B visa, are thriving like never before. Here are some tips that can help push your petition to success.
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- Know the importance of the job description. Make sure you create and provide a detailed job description and meet the requirements of specialty occupation. While you have likely created a variety of job descriptions over your professional career, the H-1B job description requires a unique level of information and specifications. You will need to outline the educational requirements with level of postsecondary degree and field of study, essential functions and other functions with percentages clearly allocated (for example, 35% of time spent building computer data sets), supervision of employees, and any other details that speak to the unique skill set and qualifications for the position.
- Set the Prevailing Wage with confidence. Confidence comes with preparation do your research, consult colleagues, and give yourself ample time to read up on the Prevailing Wage so you feel confident about the wage you assign. There are a few ways to obtain the proper Prevailing Wage for your H-1B application. Employers can obtain this wage rate by submitting a request to the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC), or by accessing other legitimate sources of information such as the Online Wage Library, available for use in some programs. The Prevailing Wage is another reason why the job description from Tip #1 is so important it will help you determine the right wage, and if nothing seems to be a fit, you’ll be able to use the job description to submit a Prevailing Wage Determination.
- Don’t forget about the Labor Condition Application. The Labor Condition Application (LCA) is a legal preemptive document that you must complete prior to submitting an H-1B petition. The LCA is a form that requires U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) approval in order for an employer to file an H-1B petition for a temporary professional worker.Think of it like an application to apply your petition will not be processed without it.
- Provide clear explanations to avoid a Request for Evidence. A Request for Evidence (RFE) arises when something is unclear to USCIS. The RFE process can be long and drawn out, making it incredibly frustrating for the employer and employee. RFEs can arise for a variety of reasons, some of which might surprise you. We recently had a case with an RFE for geographical reasons something that required extensive proof and documentation to explain to USCIS. The more legal information and clear summaries you can provide regarding your application, the better chance you’ll have of avoiding an RFE.
- Ask your biggest fans to sing your praises. The H-1B process is a very intricate part of the USCIS and DOL offices. They are thorough, and they do not take the visas lightly and rightfully so. Granting legal immigration to applicants requires serious character analysis, background checks, proof of exemplary skills and qualifications, and more. While employers know the person that they wish to sponsor, and believe in good faith that they are an appropriate person to receive an H-1B, the offices reviewing millions of case files have no way to judge one person from the other. This is why you want to build a robust character and skill portfolio with multiple references and resources documenting why the applicant is an asset for the United States, and not a liability.
Organization is essential to make sure you have every aspect of your application covered. In fact, we recommend creating a checklist to help ensure that you have collected all required and supporting documents. Remember, never provide immigration‐related advice yourself. Relevant immigration law is complex and changes constantly, and even a small fact can change a situation completely. Errors can be very costly for the employee, both in monetary and professional aspects. Please refer foreign employees to an experienced H-1B visa attorney.