Immigration & Green Card Law Firm, Lawyers, Attorneys: San Franscisco Bay Area to San Jose: H-1B Cases - Get Ready Now

Monday, January 7, 2008

H-1B Cases - Get Ready Now

Heller Immigration Law Group, LLP, and many immigration law firms, is beginning to prepare for filing new H-1b cases in late March 2008. In fact, we've started taking on new cases for 3 months now. Because of the volume of cases, we utilize INSZoom case management software, which is a comfort to clients who are given a 'login' code so that they can follow the progress of their cases.

Whether HILG is retained by an HR/corporate client or the individual him/herself, the H-1b petitioner will always be a validated and 'bona fide' company.

The concept behind H-1b is pretty straightforward. First, the petitioner/employer must be a legal entity, that is, a valid and verifiable business; it must have a tax or federal id number, employees, and be solid financially (to convince USCIS that it can actually pay the proferred wages). It does not have to be a large or formal 'inc' corporation and can even be organized as a sole proprietorship or partnership. USCIS, however, frowns upon anything that looks like "self-employment".

Another thing that can cause USCIS to take a closer look at a case is the appearance of what has become known as "speculative employement". Athough there is nothing in the statute or regulations that allow the USCIS to go there, they can and do (and if the issue is missed by the USCIS at this end, often it will come up at the US Consulate when a beneficiary of an approved H-1b petition is applying for his/her visa). I recommend that one avoid this type of job offer. In my experience such a job offer is usually associated with IT contracting type companies (willing to offer an H-1b position to an individual domestically or abroad but expecting that once on board pursuant to an H-1b approval he/she will find an IT 'project').

In fact, under the rules, one cannot be 'benched' even for a short period; the employee must be paid a salary which is consistent with the LCA filed with the U.S. Dept. of Labor and which is posted on the company premises.

Finally, it should be remembered that the duties and responsibilities offered must be described in such detail that the USCIS is convinced that the position involves a "specialty occupation", which is immigration/legal speak for a professional level job. Almost always this will be a job that requires a specialized bachelor's degree, or higher, or the foreign equivalent, even for entry level. Specialty occupations include: teacher, engineer, accountant, scientist, financial analyst, lawyer, MD, graphic artist, historian, and many others.

The term "Prevailing wage" is also a term of art. Generally, the lawyer involved makes certain the wage offered meets this requirement by utilizing the OES (a DOL salary survey for all occupations). And unlike a green card situation, an employer can hire and petition for the professional employee of their choice!

More on H-1b, and alternatives, shortly.

No comments: