H-1-B Professional Workers

The H1B Process

The Austin H1B immigration attorney of Lyttle Law Firm are dedicated to helping foreign workers employed in specialty occupations in the United States. We have successfully handled all types of H1B visas for international professionals and U.S. businesses across the state. Our firm provides the highest quality legal representation to clients in Austin, throughout Texas, and elsewhere in the nation.

The H1B visa allows employers to recruit and hire foreign professionals and students to work in the United States. This gives the worker legal status to remain in the U.S. for an initial period of three years, after which the visa can be extended. Unlike other student, business, or tourist visas, H1Bs do not restrict the visa holder’s ability to work or remain in the U.S. H1B applicants can have the intent to both work and obtain legal permanent resident status in the United States.

In order to be eligible for an H1B visa, the applicant must work in a “specialty occupation” for which he or she is qualified. Employers must also show that they are paying the foreign worker the “prevailing wage” for work performed under the same conditions as U.S. employees. Some examples of qualifying H1B occupations include jobs in the following fields:

  • Teaching
  • Engineering
  • Health care, nursing
  • Information technology
  • Law, medicine, business
  • Networking, management
  • Finance, banking, accounting
  • Educational, scientific research
  • Advertising, sales, public relations

The H1B process begins when the applicant accepts a job offer from a U.S. employer. The “sponsoring” employer must agree to file an H1B petition on the worker’s behalf. The employment offer must be in a letter specifying the duties of the position, exact dates or duration of employment, and information regarding the applicant’s supervisors and co-workers.

The next step requires comparing the “prevailing” and actual wage for work performed by the applicant. To determine the prevailing wage, the State Employment Security Agency requires that employers complete a specific form detailing the duties, skills, and experience required for the job. The actual wage is what is paid to employees in the same position with the same level of experience. The H1B sponsoring company is required to pay the higher of the two wages.

Before filing the H1B petition, the employer must first sign a Labor Certification Application (LCA) verifying, in part, that the applicant’s employment will not adversely affect the conditions of other workers. This means that the H1B visa holder will receive the same employment benefits as other U.S. workers. Employers must post notice of the H1B filing at two conspicuous places at the business for 10 days or notify the employees’ collective bargaining agency.

Once the LCA is approved, the Department of Labor sends a certified copy to the employer, who can then file the H1B visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The petition must contain the required fees, forms, and supporting documents. Processing times vary depending on the service center and whether the applicant opts for regular or “premium” processing. USCIS will send the petitioning employer a notice of receipt.

Once the H1B petition is approved, USCIS will send an approval notice to the employer. The H1B visa beneficiary can then apply for personal and family visas at the nearest Consulate. The Consulate returns the passports with a valid H1B visa stamp, allowing beneficiaries and their families to enter the United States under “H” status.

If you need help completing the H1B process, contact the experienced Austin H1B immigration lawyer at Lyttle Law Firm today. We have helped numerous foreign workers and their families obtain H1B visas and obtain legal permanent resident status in the United States. Our firm works closely with U.S. sponsoring companies to ensure that labor certification and H1B applications are properly prepared and timely filed with USCIS. We are committed to providing excellent legal services to clients throughout Texas and the country. For a confidential consultation, call (512) 215-5225 at any time or contact us online.