H-1B Visas for Professionals

H-1B visas are currently numerically restricted to 65,000 new applicants annually

The educational evaluation services will assist an applicant in determining the equivalence between his/her foreign degree and U.S. degrees. Documented work experience in the field of specialization can be taken into account for these purposes, as well.

Applications can be submitted at the earliest on 1st April for a starting date at the beginning of the new fiscal year – the next 1st October. In the last few years, this visa category closed very quickly due to the high volume of applications received in the first two days of the month of April.

Applicants were subjected to a lottery with a 50/50 chance of acceptance. Chances that immigration reform will result in a lifting of the numerical limitation depend on unemployment in the U.S. and an understanding that an employer's ability to hire skilled professionals in the U.S. often results in less outsourcing to other countries.

Positions at certain non-profit organizations or educational institutions are not subject to numerical limitations. Additional visas are available to persons with Master's Degrees.

An application, which makes it through the lottery, has to prove that the employer is offering the foreign employee the "prevailing wage" – a determination made by the U.S. Labour Department. The job also has to be posted for all other employees to see and the employer has to demonstrate that hiring the foreign professional will not adversely affect U.S. workers.

This serves to avoid undercutting of U.S. wages and working conditions. The employer also has to show that the position into which the professional is hired actually requires a university degree. When the foreign hire has a Master's Degree and wishes to take advantage of this additional criterion, the employer has to pay a much higher prevailing wage and must prove that a Master's Degree is necessary for the intended position.