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Important facts about H1B Status and Updates

By Mason White 2:29 PM April 13, 2014

By: Charlene Sampilo
The United States is one of the leading countries in the world that most foreigners dream of visiting.

Others dream of working in the country because of the many job opportunities and benefits. Their currency — Dollars, also serve as the benchmark for most foreign currencies. For people who would like to go to the U.S., there are different ways to get there.

One of the ways on how to get to the U.S. and work, is to obtain an H1B visa.

As of 2012, more than 250,000 applicants have been approved for an H1B visa by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS.

If you are interested to be a recipient of an H1B Visa, here are the top 10 things you need to know:

1. H1B Visa allows any U.S.-based employer to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Foreign workers may come from any country in the world.

2. H1B visa holders’ duration of stay is three years. It can be extended to six years. The maximum duration of the H1B visa is ten years and this condition is only for those United States Department of Defense project related works. A law passed in 2000, allows workers to extend their visa for more than six years while waiting for their green card under certain conditions. The U.S. has also made it easier for foreign workers to change the employers who sponsored them.

3. H1B visa is temporary. This applicable is for non-immigrants or for those people who enter the U.S. for a temporary stay.

4. The worker applying for H1B Visa needs to have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

5. H1B Visa is for workers who were hired on any of the following specialty occupations:

• Occupations in Architecture, Surveying, and Engineering

• Occupations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences

• Occupations in Life Sciences

• Computer Science, IT and Telecom Occupations

• Occupations in Medicine and Health

• Occupations in Education and Research

• Occupations in Business Management and Administration

• Occupations in Finance and Administrative Specializations

• Other Specialty Occupations such as fashion, models, museum curators, librarians, etc.

6. The quota for the initial H1B petition is 65,000 foreign workers. 6,800 of them are reserved for Chile and Singapore for some special programs. There is also an additional 20,000 slots for fresh graduates with a master’s degree.

7. The foreign worker must be on the payroll of a U.S. company and not on any other foreign company.

8. H1B Visa holders can bring family members that are considered immediate – a spouse and children who are under 21 years old. Any of these family members must have an H4 Visa wherein they can stay in the U.S. as long as the H1B Visa holder has legal status to work in the country. These family members with an H4 Visa may study in a school in the U.S. and get a driver’s license. However, they are not allowed to work and cannot get a social security number for themselves.

9. H1B Visa holders need an approval from the Department of Labor. A written document or proof should be presented from the employer stating that they are hiring a foreign worker because there is no qualified U.S. worker available to accept the job offer.

10. Blanket petition is not allowed or not available for H1B Visa. The petition must be filed individually for each proposed H1B applicant or worker.

Most of the companies getting H1B Visa holders are Infosys, Wipro, Microsoft and IBM. Most of these companies are IT-based, attesting the need for more workers who have specialties in Computer Science, Information Technology and Telecommunications.

For anyone who has competitive skills globally, they should take advantage of the H1B Visa. They can apply and pass the qualifications required. Big companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and Google give opportunities for all individuals in any country to showcase their talents and lead the world in innovations and inventions.

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