Musings on Immigration

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What Are the Eligibility Requirements of the H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. businesses to hire foreign workers in occupations that require practical or theoretical application of highly specialized knowledge.

As outlined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are strict requirements that must be met to acquire an H-1B visa:

1.       There must be an employer-employee relationship between the employer and the foreign national;
2.       The position must qualify as a specialty occupation;
3.       The specialty occupation must relate to the foreign national’s field of study;
4.       The employer must pay the employee a fair wage; and
5.       Unless numerical limits do not apply, an H-1B visa must be available when the petition is filed.

If you own a business and intend to hire an employee through the H-1B visa program, contact Kuck Immigration Partners. Charles Kuck is an employment visa attorney in Atlanta who will explain the eligibility requirements and ease the paperwork and reporting required by you and the foreign national. Call 404-816-8611 today to schedule a consultation.

Let’s take a closer look at the eligibility requirements of the H-1B visa:

1. Employer-Employee Relationship

In most situations, establishing an employer-employee relationship requires that the U.S. employer can pay, hire, supervise, fire and control the employment of the H-1B worker. In certain cases, the majority or sole owner of the petitioning organization or company can establish the employee-employer relationship if the petitioning entity has the right to control the beneficiary’s employment.

2. Position Qualifies as Specialty Occupation

In order for the position to qualify as a specialty occupation, one of the following criteria must be met:

·         The position normally requires a bachelor’s degree or higher degree, or its equivalent;
·         The requirement of the degree is common within the industry, or the position is so unique or complex that only a person with at least a bachelor’s degree in the specific area could fill the position;
·         The employer usually requires employees in that position to have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent; or
·         The duties are so complex and specialized that the necessary knowledge is usually associated with obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher.

3. Occupation Relates to Foreign National’s Field of Study

You can prove this requirement by submitting:

·         A comprehensive explanation of the service or product of the company, or the duties of the position, or the nature of the role and how the degree complements the role;
·         Expert opinions about how the degree complements the role;
·         Online resources that describe degrees normally related to the position; or
·         Evidence to prove that similar companies require similar degrees for similar occupations.

4.  Employer Pays a Fair Wage

The employer must pay the employee the actual wage or prevailing wage for the occupation – whichever is higher.

5. Unless Numerical Limits Do Not Apply, H-1B Visa Is Available When Petition Filed

Each fiscal year, there is a numerical cap of 65,000 H-1B visas. However, your petition may be exempt from the cap if it is one of the first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of a person with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. There is a lottery every April for those applying for both types of H-1B visas.   However,  if the beneficiary is employed at or petitioned for a higher education institution, or its related or affiliated nonprofit entities, a government research organization, or a nonprofit organization, then the petition is not subject to the numerical cap.

If you have questions about the H-1B visa, contact an Atlanta immigration lawyer from Kuck Immigration Partners. Call 404-816-8611 today to schedule an initial consultation.

ACTUALIZACIÓN de la ampliación del programa de exención provisional – Quien NO es elegible.

Tras la nueva actualización del recién ampliado programa de exención provisional que entró en vigor el 29 de agosto de 2016, es importante aclarar que es y quien no es elegible para solicitar esta exención.

En concreto, un individuo con una orden final de expulsión ahora puede solicitar una exención 212 de la orden de expulsión en los Estados Unidos, y con la aprobación, puede continuar con la solicitud de exención provisional.

Pero, no es así de simple. Existen ciertas restricciones dentro de esta disposición. Tenga en cuenta que hay una diferencia significativa entre la salida voluntaria y dictar una orden de expulsión. Si a un individuo se le dictó una orden de alejamiento por un juez de inmigración, será elegible para la exención 212. Si, por lo contrario, aceptan la salida voluntaria, pero no pueden retirarse, esto se convierte en una orden final de expulsión, esa persona NO será elegible para presentar una exención 212 ni provisional.

Además, sobre el tema de las ordenes de exención en ausencia - si una persona está sujeta a una orden de exención en ausencia, significa que no estaban en la corte cuando se les ordenó retirarla porque no recibió el aviso, o decidieron no ir, ellos tampoco serán elegibles para una exención 212 y una exención provisional si iniciaron el proceso al 1 de abril de 1997. Esto significa que cualquier persona que tenga una orden de exención en ausencia basado en ser colocado en las actualizaciones antes del 1 de abril de 1997, seguirá siendo elegible para la opción 212 y exención provisional, aun cuando la orden de expulsión se produjo después del 1 de abril de 1997.

Cada uno de estos puntos son muy complicados y la base para su elegibilidad puede variar de un caso a otro, por lo que siempre es importante hablar con un abogado de inmigración sobre su elegibilidad antes de continuar con este proceso.

Póngase en contacto con Daniela M. Claffey al 404.949.8151, o por correo electrónico a para cualquier pregunta.

UPDATE to the Expanded Provisional Waiver Program – Who is NOT Eligible!

As an update to the newly expanded provisional waiver program that went into effect on August 29, 2016, it is important to clarify who is and is not eligible to file for this waiver.

Specifically, an individual with a final order of removal may now file a 212 waiver of the removal order in the United States, and upon approval, move forward with the provisional waiver application. 

But, it’s not that simple.  There are certain restrictions within this provision as well.  Keep in mind there is a significant difference between voluntary departure and an order of removal.  If an individual is issued an order of removal by the Immigration Judge, they will be eligible for the 212 waiver.  If on the other hand, they accept Voluntary Departure, but fail to depart such that it turns into a final order of removal, that person will NOT be eligible to file a 212 and provisional waiver. 

Further, on the topic of in absentia orders of removal – if a person is subject to an order of removal in absentia, meaning they were not in court when they were ordered removed either because they didn’t receive notice, or they chose not to go, they also will NOT be eligible to file a 212 and provisional waiver if they were put into proceedings after April 1, 1997.  That means anyone who has an in absentia order of removal based on being placed into proceedings before April 1, 1997, will remain eligible for the 212 and provisional waiver option, even if the removal order occurred after April 1, 1997.    

Each of these points are very complicated and the basis for eligibility can vary from case to case, so always important to speak with an immigration attorney regarding your eligibility before moving forward with this process. 

Please contact Danielle M. Claffey at 404.949.8151, or by email at with any questions.