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H-1B visa program provides opportunities for foreign workers

For educated foreign workers seeking employment opportunities in the United States, the H-1B visa program offers a number of benefits. The H-1B program is intended to allow U.S. employers to hire non-U.S. nationals for "specialty occupations," which are generally any positions requiring a bachelor's degree. The number of H-1B visas granted each year is limited to 65,000, with an additional 20,000 for foreign workers who have obtained a master's or higher degree from a U.S. college or university.

The H-1B employment visa program provides important rights to the workers involved. The employer must provide the worker with a copy of the Labor Condition Application which the employer filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. The LCA contains a promise by the employer that it will pay the H1-B worker the same wage it pays similarly qualified employees or the local prevailing wage for that occupational classification, whichever is higher.

The employer must also certify in the LCA that it will offer the H-1B worker the same benefits it offers to its U.S. employees, that it will not employ the H-1B worker at a facility where a strike is occurring and that it will pay the H-1B employee for non-productive time in specified situations. Finally, the employer is prohibited by law from terminating, blacklisting or discriminating against an H-1B employee who reports violations of the H-1B rules by the employer.

Negotiating the H-1B visa application process can be complex and confusing for both employer and employee. Working with a qualified immigration law firm can ensure the process is completed efficiently and successfully.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, "Work Authorization for non-U.S. Citizens: Workers in Professional and Specialty Occupations (H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 Visas)," accessed Feb. 13, 2016

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