Under H visas, Temporary alien workers will be able to work in the United States for the period authorized by the USCIS for their employers in the United States. They will be able to work only upon the petition submitted to USCIS for approval by the employer in the United States on behalf alien workers, and also most of them are required to obtain Labor Condition Application (LCA) with attestations by employer from the Dept. of Labor. Most prominent category under H visas is H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa program is utilized by some U.S. businesses and other organizations to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field. Usually H-1Bs are admitted for the initial period of three years to the United States, and allowed for extension of stay for three more years. However, H-1B extension may not be extended beyond the maximum period of six years unless alien is in process of obtaining permanent residence in the United States, and in such process an application for Labor certification with the Department of Labor or Petition for Immigrant visa is pending with the USCIS for more than a year. H-1B aliens will be able to obtain extension of stay in one-year increments in such circumstances or at a time for three years if the alien’s immigrant visa petition is approved, and unable to file application for adjustment of status due to unavailability of visas because of per country limitations.
Incase, if alien completes his or her six-year limit, will not be able to enter the United States and work in H or L visa unless he is physically spent outside the United States for one full year. Six-year period includes only the time spent by the alien in the United States either in any H-status or L status. If there are breaks for the duration he or she stayed in the United States during his or six-year period, regulations provide provisions to recapture the time spent outside the United States and allow alien to work in the United States under H status. Typical H-1B occupations include architects, engineers, computer programmers, accountants, doctors and college professors.
H-1B visa is a dual intent visa, and therefore it is irrelevant whether he would like to immigrate to the United States permanently or temporarily. He is entitled to stay in the H-1B status while his case for adjustment of status is pending. There are various complex procedures and rules involved in maintaining H-1B status and seeking permanent residence in the United States.
The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000. However, 6,800 visas of these H-1Bs are allocated for the individuals from the countries of Singapore and Chile, under the treaty signed by the United States with both countries. Aliens who are subject to Singapore and Chile agreement do not require H-1B1 Petition filed with the USCIS. They may directly obtain H-1B1nonimmigrant visa at the US Consulate abroad. Once they were admitted into the US, they are subject same rules and regulations of H-1B category.
Also, the aliens who obtained Masters degree or higher from the accredited university in the United States, are exempt from the usual H-1B Cap of 65, 000 and are subject advance degree exemption cap of 20,000 H-1B visas every year.
Other H visas are H1C Visas are for Registered Nurses, H2A for Agricultural workers, H2B for Non Agricultural Workers, and H-3 for Trainees. Under H2B visas employer can hire skilled or unskilled foreign nationals for whom the employer has temporary need and for which qualified US workers are unavailable. The company must intend to employ aliens for temporary period and the employer’s need for the skills possessed by the foreign nationals also are temporary. In addition, employer must seek Labor certification from the department of labor. Sample H2B jobs are Landscape Laborer, Forest Worker, Tree Planters, Housekeeping cleaners, Crabmeat Processor, construction worker, etc. Usually an employer for H2B alien may obtain approval for the initial period of one year. However, extensions beyond this initial period are possible, however, they shall not exceed for more than three years.
H-3 visas are usually used by the US companies and institutions to bring foreign nationals to the United States for temporary period in order to participate in company’s training programs. The training program may provide classroom training or combination of classroom and on the job training, which is unavailable in the alien’s home country. It is important to note that H-3 visa category is subject to special restrictions that apply to temporary training of a foreign worker, and therefore USCIS applies these restrictions in a very stringent manner, and denies many cases on any number of bases. It is important to note that alien who enters in to the United States under H-3 visa must not engage in any productive employment in the United States as part of the training program if such employment will displace US worker. Any productive employment must be incidental to the training and inconsequential to the nature. An alien worker may be able to stay in the United States for the maximum period of two years. Also, it is important to note that once an alien is in the United States for complete period of two years, he or she cannot change status or return to the United States under H or L categories unless he or she has been physically present outside the United States for the preceding six months.
H4 visas are usually given to the dependents or family members of H visa principal alien. Usually spouse, and unmarried minor child under the age of 21 of the alien who is in H visa status qualify for H4 status. Their status is derivative upon the principal alien in H-1B status, and therefore they will able to stay in the United States as dependents as long as the principal alien is present legally in the United States. However, they need to file extension of stay of their status before it expires requesting till the period principal alien is able to stay in the United States. H4 visa holders are not permitted to work in the United States; however, they are permitted to do certain studies.