Up to 2000 the typical way trained professionals obtained visas to work within the United States was the use of H-1B visas which were readily granted to fill the thousands of positions within the United States’ vibrant high technology industry. Pressed by the powerful heads of these industries, the INS freely granted increasing numbers of such Petitions and only the collapse of the “tech bubble” in 2001 stopped the expanding use of this method of working in the United States.
There is a myth prevalent that the days of the H-1B are now over. That is simply untrue, though the number of such visas granted has diminished since 2000. Nevertheless, in fiscal year 2004 (which started on October 1, 2003 and ends September 30, 2004) sixty five thousand H-1B visas were granted, averaging 14,500 a month in October, November and December. While it is likely that the Petitions will “top out” quite soon, the fact remains that many are granted annually and this is a viable way for many to seek entry into the United States work force. The day of the H-1B is not over…only more limited.
> H-1B status is for workers in specialty occupations, such as:
* Computer Science
* Physical sciences
* Social sciences
* Medicine and health
* Business specialties
> H-1B status is available to workers in occupations requiring highly specialized knowledge, normally acquired through a four-year college degree (or its equivalent).
Although myriad “specialty occupations” exist, there are specific requirements that the petitioner (who is the employer) and the beneficiary must meet in order to successfully obtain an H-1B visa:
> The foreign worker must be coming to the U.S. to perform services in a “specialty occupation” which requires a college education or its equivalent in experience. Three years of “progressively more responsible experience” equals one year of college.
> The position must meet one of the following criteria (although it is best to meet all four):
1. A bachelor’s degree or higher degree (or equivalent) is the minimum requirement for entry into the position.