A specialty occupation is a position of employment that fulfills the criteria set forth by US Citizenship and Immigration Services in which foreign nationals may be employed and may be granted a specialty occupations visa for being employed in said occupation. The H-1B classification is such a visa category and is utilized by a great number of US employers to employ or continue to employ foreign national workers. However, demonstrating that a position of employment is a specialty occupation and that the foreign national is qualified to be employed in it can be problematic for many employers or foreign nationals, particularly those who have not previously dealt with the US immigration system and do not have easy access to one who does. This issue can be easily solved by hiring a Los Angeles immigration lawyer to assist in the petition process. Our firm offers free consultations to interested US employers and foreign national workers seeking to utilize the unique opportunities afforded by the H-1B visa, and we strongly urge that you contact our office if you are either of the aforementioned types of entities.
There is no complete list of specialty occupations, though some are more readily classified as such than others; instead, there is a list of general requirements that a position must meet in order to be considered a specialty occupation, and each position is classified on a case by case basis. The H-1B visa is made that much more difficult to attain because of this due to the fact that an applicant is not simply applying to a position, but the position itself must also qualify to hold an H-1B worker. Some employers tend to shy away from the H-1B classification because of this and miss out on the opportunity to employ excellent foreign national workers simply due to their unfamiliarity with the system. Our immigration attorneys have helped numerous employers in numerous industries qualify for the H-1B visa category and passionately assist our clients with all of their needs and soothe their apprehensions as we move forward through the application process. Contact our Los Angeles immigration lawyer and Pasadena immigration lawyer groups to learn more about your options in your specific situation.
In order to be categorized as a specialty occupation, a position must meet at least one of the following qualifications:
- The minimum qualification for employment for the position is a Bachelor’s degree or a greater degree or the equivalent of such a degree
- The degree requirement for the position is the industry standard for the position, or the particular position is so unique in its nature that only an individual with a degree could successfully hold it
- The employer normally holds to the degree requirement for the position, if not in this specific instance
- The duties involved with the position are of such a highly specialized nature that the knowledge to complete said duties is commonly only considered to be held by individuals who comply with the degree requirement
Aside from demonstrating that a position qualifies as a specialty occupation, an employer or prospective employer must file an LCA (Labor Condition Application) with the Department of Labor that states and demonstrates that the employer complies and/or will comply with any and all wage requirements and labor conditions that are established by the relevant legislation that governs the specialty occupation’s industry. The Labor Condition Application is a key element of the petition and cannot be filed with any errors, as the entire petition can hinge on the successful filing of the LCA. Speak with our office to have a no-obligation, no-cost consultation with a Los Angeles immigration attorney or Pasadena immigration attorney that specializes in the H-1B classification and has successfully filed multiple LCAs for a wide variety of clients.
Eligibility for the H-1B visa category as a foreign national worker rests on the foreign national’s fulfillment of at least one of the following criteria:
- Completing a US Bachelor’s degree or a greater degree in the area of study specified by the specialty occupation in question
- Holding a foreign degree that is the equivalent of holding a US Bachelor’s degree or a greater degree in the area of study specified by the specialty occupation in question
- Hold an unrestricted state license or permit which fully authorizes the practice of the specialty occupation in the state in which the foreign national intends to reside and be employed
- Have education or training, or experience that otherwise equates to the completion of a degree that would fulfill the degree requirement and be recognized as an expert in the specialty occupation through positions of responsibility of a nature that is directly related to the specialty
The H-1B visa is “capped” at 65,000 visas per fiscal year (the fiscal year is begins October 1st, though applications are accepted as early as April 1st), meaning that only 65,000 H-1B visas are awarded each fiscal year. Although, the first 20,000 petitions received for foreign nationals who hold US Master’s degrees or greater degrees will be exempt from the cap. Whatever your degree standing, contact our Los Angeles immigration lawyers and Pasadena immigration lawyers to discuss your options and begin drafting a petition as soon as possible in order to get the best chance of approval and petition at an ideal time of year.
Spouses and unmarried children under twenty-one years old may be admitted under the H-4 visa classification.
Contact our immigration attorneys and schedule a free consultation with an H-1B specialist today.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H) that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Specialty occupations fall under many other work visas, however, H-1B visa is the most common one. While there are certain statutory requirements for a position to qualify as a specialty occupation under the H1B visa, as discussed below, clients should be advised that the number of industries and positions are so overall inclusive that the law does not state which specific positions fall within the statute to qualify under H1B visa. To determine if your prospective job offer or present position qualifies as a specialty occupation under the H1 visa, please contact our office for a free no obligation consultation with an experienced H1B visa immigration attorney.
As a general guide rule the job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation under H1B visa:
- Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position (for the H1B visa experience may count as a substitute);
- The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position (hence the H-1B visa for specialty occupation); OR
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
To qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria under H-1B visa:
- Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university;
- Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation;
- Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment; OR
- Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
H-1B Visa Cap
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit “cap” of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H1B visa workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to the H1-B visa numerical cap.
Period of Stay under the H-1 visa
As an H-1B visa nonimmigrant, you may be admitted for a period of up to (3) three years. Your time period under H1B visa may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years, though some exceptions for the H1B visa for specialty occupations do apply under sections 104(c) and 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).
Family of H-1B Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Family members in the nonimmigrant H-4 visa (H4 visa) classification may not engage in employment in the United States.
Mr. Galstyan, an experienced immigration attorney, has successfully handled countless H-1B visa cases. Our firm has the ability and experience to help you in getting your H-1B visa for your specialty occupation. Aside from preparing the main petition and filing it with the USCIS we also work with you employer during the Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor. Please contact our office for your free, no obligation consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer.