Employers are, with increasing frequency, looking overseas to fill their employment needs. Not only can hiring foreign nationals help a company fill a specific position, but hiring highly-skilled foreign nationals – particularly for IT jobs – can also boost productivity and increase wages for the entire workforce.
There are several work visa options available for foreign workers, each with their own eligibility requirements, pros, and cons. Among the most common work visas are:
- H-1B visa. Available for foreign nationals working in a specialized field, the H-1B visa allows a foreign national to work in the U.S. for up to three years, making it the preferred immigration choice for many employers seeking to hire a foreign national. The H-1B is subject to strict quota caps, however, so it will not be available for everyone.
- L-1 visa for intra-company transfers. Generally, in order to qualify for an L-1 visa, the applicant must have worked abroad as an executive, manager, or specialized employee for at least one continuous year within the previous three year period.
- TN visa. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), TN work visa status is available for Canadian and Mexican citizens who will enter the U.S. to be engaged in activities at a professional level, which is generally defined as a job that requires at least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials. There are no caps on the number of TN visas that can be issued each year.
- E visas for business investors. An E-1 or E-1 visa is available for traders and investors who are citizens of countries with which the U.S. has a treaty of trade and commerce.
- O visas for workers with extraordinary ability. The O visa enables people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or the motion picture and television industry to enter the U.S. for temporary periods of time.
- E-3 visas for citizens of Australia. 10,000 visas are available each year for Australian foreign nationals and their spouses.
- H-1B visas for citizens of Singapore and Chile. 5,800 total visas are available for citizens of Singapore and Chile who meet the requirements for the H-1B visa.
Regardless of which visa option is sought, the success of a visa petition will depend, in large part, on cooperation between the employee and the employer. In many cases, the petition for a work visa will be completed and submitted by the employer, but will require that the employer provide detailed information regarding the position and the foreign national.
For instance, the L work visa allows multinational companies to transfer overseas employees to the United States if the employee has been employed outside of the United States by the U.S. employer’s subsidiary, parent company, or corporate affiliate. The employer will submit the petition, but must show that the foreign national employee was continuously employed abroad for one continuous year within the three year period of time preceding the L visa application being submitted to USCIS, and that the transferred employee will be employed in the U.S. as either an executive, manager, or an employee who possesses specialized knowledge.
The employment immigration lawyers at Shapiro Law Group help employers determine the most appropriate immigration option, collect the necessary information, and file the appropriate immigration forms in a timely manner, using our 30 years of experience to help clients facilitate seamless business immigration and ensure compliance with the legal requirements of the immigration application process.
If you would like information on the H-1B visa or other employment immigration options, contact us online or call (847) 564-0712 to schedule a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys in Chicago.