Work Visa Sponsorships for Foreign Workers
Work visa sponsorship is complicated and requires many steps. However, our immigration lawyers can help you work through the process.
There are numerous circumstances where U.S. employers can engage foreign nationals to work here temporarily or permanently. However, those individuals must obtain authorization relating to nonimmigrant or immigrant visas.
Nonimmigrant visas confer temporary status versus immigrant visas that grant permanent residence. Moreover, some nonimmigrant workers require employer sponsorship.
In addition, the position and the candidate's qualifications determine the appropriate visa. The H-1B and H-2B are two more commonly held work temporary work visas requiring employer sponsorship.
If you're interested in work visa sponsorship, it generally pays to enlist an immigration lawyer to sort through the details and expedite the process.
What is an H-1B Work Visa?
Work visas allow a foreign national to enter and work in the U.S. for a specified period. As an employer, you assume responsibility for their actions during their stay.
Although the United States has nearly 200 visa types, work visas comprise a significant portion. And when it comes to nonimmigrant visas, the H-1B visa is the most prevalent. The classification applies to foreign workers in specialty occupations.
As a result, when sponsoring a work visa, the job must require highly specialized knowledge. For example, a bachelor's degree or equivalent is the minimum entry requirement for the position.
Typical positions include architecture, science, medicine, engineering, and information technology.
In addition, the following requirements apply:
- The degree requirement is standard for the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that a degreed candidate can only perform it.
- The employer usually requires a degree for the position.
- The duties associated with the position typically require a bachelor's degree or higher degree.
You can learn more about the requirements at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
What You Need to Know About H-1B Work Visa Sponsorship
As an employer, you must pay the prevailing wage for the position. In addition, you must file for labor condition approval (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), indicating that you will pay the prevailing wage.
H-1B visas have a quota. So, you must contend with that cap if you're an employer. Presently, the allocation is 65,000 per year, with an additional 20,000 for candidates holding a Master's degree.
The duration for H-1B visas extends to three years but can extend to six years. That can be extended another year or more if the individual has a labor certification form. However, it does not allow the worker to remain with the employer permanently.
What is an H-2B Visa?
Unlike an H-1B visa, an H-2B visa is temporary and used for seasonal, intermittent workers. It permits employers to hire foreign workers to perform nonagricultural work that's one-time, seasonal, peak load, or intermittent.
H-2B positions are generally associated with landscaping, housekeeping, construction, restaurants, food preparation, forestry, recreation, and more. Unlike an H-1B visa, candidates have no special education requirements.
The quota for H-2B workers is 66,000, split into two timeframes. So, 33,000 foreign nationals can work from the first half of the fiscal year, October 1 through March 31. Another 33,000 can work from April 1 through September 30.
You can learn more about H-2B temporary requirements here. Whether you're seeking temporary or longer-term foreign, an immigration lawyer can provide guidance and support you through the process.
The Process for a Work Visa Sponsorship
As mentioned, it's an involved process. Some companies need more capacity to manage the process. In that case, an immigration lawyer can provide support.
Here's an overview of the steps required for a work visa sponsorship:
Step 1: Review the description to ensure it qualifies as a specialty occupation
Step 2: Determine the position's pay rate
Step 3: Notify the U.S. Workforce.
The notice must be given within 30 days before the date you file with the LCA and DOL. Required information includes:
- The number of nonimmigrants you want to employ.
- The occupational classifications where they will be employed.
- The wage offered.
- The length of employment.
- The locations where they will be employed.
- This statement: "Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the labor condition application and failure to comply with the terms of the labor condition application may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor."
Step 4: Submit the Labor Condition Application to the DOL for certification.
You apply to the Foreign Labor Application Gateway or FLAG system.
Step 5: Register with the USCIS for the annual H-1B lottery.
First, you must submit an electronic registration with basic information about your company and the requested beneficiary. Registration occurs between March 1 and March 20 and requires a $10 fee per beneficiary.
You must also complete an account at USCIS for work visa sponsorship. Here is the required information:
- Company's legal name
- Doing business as, if applicable
- Employer ID
- Employer address
- Authorized signature
- Beneficiary's name, gender, DOB, birth country, and passport number
Step 6: Await Lottery Selection
You'll receive a status notification indicating Submitted, Selected, Not Selected, or Denied.
Step 7: Submit a completed Form I-129 to the USCIS for the beneficiaries.
Step 8: Notify prospective workers to apply for a visa or admission.
What's the Cost to Sponsor a Work Visa?
An H-1B visa costs roughly $5,000 plus filing fees of around $3,000. If you elect to use an immigration lawyer, you also incur their fees. You'll also have to pay the salary.
Talk to Our Immigration Lawyers
Talk to an immigration lawyer at our firm about a work visa sponsorship.
High Swartz has law offices in Doylestown, PA, and Norristown, PA. However, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.
Besides immigration legal services, we offer specialized business law, workers' compensation, employment law, and litigation services.