H1B Temporary Worker
What is H1B status?
Immigration grants an H1B status to a foreign national to work temporarily in the in the U.S. when the employer (UAH) files documentation to USCIS to establish that both the employee and position meet the eligibility criteria for H1B sponsorship. An H1B status authorizes an employee to work for only the employer(s) who filed the immigration petition (I-129).
An H1B employee must be paid the higher of the State Prevailing Wage Determination or the actual wages paid to other similarly employed workers. Sponsoring an employee on an H1B status requires the university to make attestations through a "Labor Condition Application" (LCA). The LCA must be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor before the H1B petition may be submitted to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USICS). The LCA requires the employer attest that they will comply with both DOL and USCIS laws.
Only the International Student and Scholar Office (ISSO) has the authority to review, submit and maintain the documentation required for UAHuntsville to sponsor an H1B employee. The hiring department is responsible for working with the ISSO staff to prepare internal paperwork in support of the LCA and H1B petition for a prospective foreign national employee. Once the hiring department and employee complete the H1B request forms and supporting documentation, the ISSO staff will coordinate the submission of the applications to the appropriate federal agencies.
- Position must be a professional level in a "specialty occupation"
- Employee must have the minimum of a bachelor's degree or the equivalent
- Salary paid to employee must meet or exceed the established prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to other similarly employed workers, whichever is higher
- Employment must normally be full-time although part-time may be possible
- Employee is only eligible to work for the employer(s) listed on the H1B petition
- Employee eligible to work only during the period listed on the H1B petition
How do I begin the process of obtaining the H1B status for my prospective employee?
Please contact the ISSO at 256-824-6078 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 256-824-6078 firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options for hiring the prospective employee. We will provide information to the department, make a determination if the position and the employee are eligible for H1B sponsorship or if there are other visa options for this employment situation., The forms section of this website includes request forms and supplementary contact ISSO at 256-824-6078 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 256-824-6078 email@example.com to discuss options for hiring the prospective employee. We will provide information to the department, make a determination if the position and the employee are eligible for H1B sponsorship or if there are other visa options for this employment situation., The forms section of this website includes request forms and supplementary handouts.
Who files the application for H-1B status?
The employing department and prospective employee will submit all required documentation to the ISSO. The ISSO will coordinate the submission of all paperwork and filing of petitions for H1B status to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services on behalf of the employing department.
How long can a person hold the H-B status?
The H1B status can be requested for a maximum of a three year period and can be extended (as many times necessary) up to a maximum of 6 years. The period requested in H1B petition is dependent on many factors; most importantly documentation from the hiring department that funding for the position exists for the period being requested or there is reasonable expectation that funding will be in place for the period being requested. For example, if funding is approved in 1 year increments, then the H-1B will be extended in 1 year increments.
Can my prospective employee begin working before the H1B status is approved?
He or she may NOT begin working at UAH while the H1B is being processed unless they are transferring or extending a current H1B authorization to work or have other valid work permission authorized by immigration. If the individual does not have valid work authorization, they are NOT eligible to begin working until the H1B petition is approved and the effective start date is reached.
How long does it take to obtain the H-1B status?
Because of the many steps and multiple parties involved in the sponsorship process, the total processing time for an H1B petition can vary greatly. The ISSO will need a minimum of two weeks after all supporting documentation from the department and the prospective employee is submitted to mail the prepared petition. The immigration processing time will vary between 15 days (if an additional $1000 premium processing fee is paid) to 3-6 months for standard processing. If the employee is being hired from outside of the U.S., then an additional step is involved because the employee must apply for an H1B visa at the U.S. Embassy nearest their home. Additional time will be needed for visa processing.
Does my employee have to leave the country to get an H1B visa?
If the prospective employee is currently in the United States maintaining a legal nonimmigrant status (such as F-1 student, B1/B2 visitor, or H1B for another employer) it may be possible to change status to H1B or extend H1B status to begin new employment without leaving the U.S. If the prospective employee is not currently in the U.S., the employer must request in the H1B petition that the USCIS notify the appropriate U.S. consular post of the approval of the petition. ISSO will forward the original Form I-797 Approval Notice to the foreign national employee as soon as it is received. If the new employee is outside of the US, the Approval Notice will be used to apply for the H1B visa stamp at the U.S. consular post abroad. Individuals in H1B classification may enter the U.S. from a foreign country up to 10 days before the employment appointment will begin.
Are there foreign nationals who are ineligible to change to H-1B status?
Some J1 exchange visitors may be considered subject to the "two year home country physical presence requirement" and are not permitted to apply for H1B status until they have fulfilled the requirement. Prospective employees who held J status in the past should speak to an immigration attorney, their previous J1 sponsor and also refer to the U.S. Department of State website for more details regarding the 2 year home residency rule and the waiver process.
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