The H1-B season is a short few weeks away and every employer petitioning for their employees is busy trying to make a strong case for him. How can you prepare this strong H1-B petition for the oncoming H1-B season? This is even more critical now given that lately there have been a slew of new requirements from USCIS, both written and unsaid. This has made the paperwork more detailed, the scrutiny even more stringent and the final adjudication inconclusive most often than not.
In such circumstances, what does it take to make a strong, foolproof H1-B petition? Below are a few helpful tips that keeps in mind the recent changes and meets the new expectations for a successful H1-B petition:
- Timing: It is very important that employers time their filing correctly. With the new ruling regarding the reversal of the lottery system, it allows for US graduates with a Master’s degree a 16% higher chance of getting through the H1-B cap lottery. Employers with students working on an Occupational Practical Training (OPT) should file early enough before that OPT time frame expires. This would give them a better chance of winning the lottery.
Secondly, identify employees on other work visas like L-1 who need to continue working onsite and sponsor their H1-B visas before the end of their current visa.
- Identify and target specific hiring needs: Identify the jobs requiring foreign workers and the roles they will fulfill. The jobs requirement should match the qualification of the H1-B visa holder. Perform all checks and provide substantiating documents to support these criteria.
- Establish appropriate wages: Prevailing wages are a must. To determine that employer must refer to educational qualification, professional experience and the area of stay and provide cost of living wages. If it appears that the employee is underpaid, it would constitute exploitation and serious violation of rules.
Refer to Department of Labor guidelines for concrete numbers. There shouldn’t be a huge delta between what the employee makes and the determined prevailing wages. If there is, they will issue a RFE which will again delay the process. Follow the thread here to see the timelines in resolving these prevailing wage determination RFEs
- Check Specialty Occupation: Most Request for Evidence (RFEs) issued in the past year has been for lack of the employee not meeting the requirement of “specialty occupation”. Develop enough evidence to support this claim. The employee should be able to perform the exclusive tasks required of his job and his background and qualification should justify that. The documents required should include professional evaluations and translations of education and background commensurate to the specialty nature of the job in the US.
What documents will you need to justify Specialty occupation? Find out on Trackitt
- Employer/ Employee relationship: Employees can’t be working at a third-party site. So, when making a petition, ensure there is solid relationship between the employee ad the company hiring.
If he has to be moving between locations, the petition should have detailed itinerary and work schedules outlining the dates, times and tasks to be performed.
- Have a Plan B: If the Employee meets all requirements but doesn’t win the lottery, explore other options of work visas like L-1, O-1, etc. that can be applied to him.
With careful planning and ensuring that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, the chances of getting through the lottery are higher. Just that, in this time’s H1-B cap season, there are more i’s and t’s to keep an eye out for.