The Statue of Liberty carries this famous line.
The sentiment resonates with millions of
immigrants housed in the United States, looking for an opportunity to pursue the
American dream and live a good life.
And a launching pad for that good life is its
excellent education system that attracts millions of international students from all over the
world and the ability for thousands of employers to recruit solid international talent.
In this video, you’ll get a comprehensive introduction to the H1B visa process, the
lottery system, the top H1B sponsoring companies and some pitfalls to be aware of.
So fasten your seat belt and sit tight.
H1B is a non-immigrant visa permit used
by employers in the US to source their talent from across the globe and within the
international population in the country.
Here’s how the USCIS describes it.
H1B is a dual intent visa, which essentially
means that unlike the F1 student visa, applicants don’t have to “hide” their
intention to stay back in the US.
So, even though this is a
temporary working permit, the H1B visa holder can simultaneously
and legally apply for a Green Card.
And unlike the earlier days of being bonded to one
sponsoring company until a Green Card is approved, the new rules allow applicants to change
jobs between H1B sponsoring companies while waiting for the green card.
How does the H1B visa process work?
The basic idea is that the employer interested
in talent acquisition among non-American citizens can sponsor the applicants
through the US Immigration system.
As one of the criteria, the minimum salary for
H1B visa holders is $60,000. This is generally not a problem considering the qualifications
and expertise needed for such specialty jobs. The median for H1B employees
last year was around $108,000.
As the first step in the H1B visa process, the
sponsoring employer pays the fee for the H1B visa, and files a Labor Condition Application with
the United States Department of Labor.
If that is approved, the
employer then files a Form I-129, or a petition for an H1B for the applicant.
If an I-129 is approved, the employee is legally allowed to work with the sponsoring
company and apply for the H1B visa.
If an H1B visa is granted,
the applicant is allowed to work with the sponsoring employer in
the US for a period of three years.
After the first three years, the employee
gets a chance to be sponsored again for another three years (with certain
exceptions for further extensions).
And if an employee on an H1B visa loses their
job, they get up to 60 days to look for another H1B job offer. Or they have to leave the
US and depart for their home country.
Let's try to understand the H1B visa process
lottery system and why it's required.
Under the regular category, the USCIS allows
up to 65,000 H1B visas for foreign employees. There is an additional 20,000 available
for international students with a Masters, MBA or a higher level US degree.
These H1B limits might’ve looked big enough at the planning stage. But the
US underestimated the demand for it.
Instead of exploring scientific problem
resolution methods to address the issue, it seems like some guy in the team who was
fascinated by Las Vegas casinos suggested delegating the difficult decision to lady luck.
So, out came computers to help out humanity in distress. The nerd who originally designed
the random number generator function – used so commonly nowadays in computer programs
(including the H1B visa lottery process) might’ve never realized the devastating
impact he’d have on so many careers.