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Q:         What is the H1B visa?

A:         The H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that permits foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S. for a temporary period of time.

Q:         How long does it last?

A:         A foreign national can stay in the U.S. in H1B status for up to six years. The six years is issued in three-year increments.

Q:         Who qualifies for an H1B?

A:         Foreign nationals who will come to the U.S. to fill specialty occupations or who are accomplished fashion models.

Q:         What is a specialty occupation?

A:         A specialty occupation is an occupation that requires that theoretical and practical application of a specialized body of knowledge.  Specialty occupations normally require bachelorís degree as a minimum requirement. Applicants filling specialty occupation positions will have a bachelorís degree in the field of the specialty occupation or have a substantial amount of related experience. Generally, most H1B applicants are doctors, engineers, professors, accountants, lawyers, physical therapists, and computer professionals

Q:         How many H-1Bs are available?

A:         In 2001, 107,500 will be available, Thereafter, the number drops back down to 65,000.

Q:         What percentage of the American workforce is comprised of H-1B foreign nationals?

A:         Less than .1% of the workforce of more than 127 million people.  

Q:         What benefits do American companies receive from hiring H-1B workers?

A:            Employer hiring H-1B workers are able to utilize the special technical knowledge or skills of these workers that are difficult to find. Employers are also able to satisfy temporary labor shortages of skilled workers.  

Q:         What are the obligations of an American company sponsoring a H-1B foreign national?

A:         The American company must comply with the following requirements:


  •       Protect wages: Employers must pay a wage to every H-1B worker that is at least as much as what is typically paid in the region for that type of work, or what the employer pays other employees with similar experience and duties.  

  •       Protect working conditions: Employers canít use H-1B employees to break a strike, and must notify their U.S. workforce when they hire an H-1B. Employers cannot make the H-1B employee work under conditions different from their U.S. co-workers, including hours, shifts and benefits.


  •       Recruit in the U.S. and Not Displace U.S. workers: Employers who use a lot of H-1Bs must first try to find U.S. workers before they can hire an H-1B. They also must attest that they are not hiring the H-1B if they have laid off or displaced a similarly situated U.S. worker.  Employers make these attestations in a file that is open to the public. 

  •       Subject to penalties: Failure to comply with DOL regulations can result in civil and administrative penalties, payment of back wages, and even debarment from participating in key immigration programs.




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