United States is in need of highly skilled cyber experts

January 17, 2015 7:25 pm
by David Jakeman

With the recent security hacks that have occurred in the United States just in the past year, it is clear this country is in need of highly skilled cyber experts to combat the influx of breaches. However, many of today’s most skilled techies are foreign nationals, who may be confused about the temporary visa process. This post will summarize how an immigrant may obtain a temporary business visa in order to work in the United States.

What Are The Common Types Of Temporary Visas And What Is The Difference Between Them?

The most common temporary visas that allow highly skilled foreign nationals to work in the United States are the H-1B and L-1 visas.

H-1B

H-1B visas are used by businesses in the United States to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require highly specialized knowledge (these are the techies I’m talking about). This visa requires the following:
1. You must have an employer-employee relationship with the petitioning United States employer.
2. Your job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting certain criteria.
3. Your job must be in a specialty occupation related to your field or study.
4. You must be paid at least the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation, whichever is greater.

Issues can arise with each of these requirements. For example, entrepreneurs often wonder how they can show an employer-employee relationship if they own the business. Typically, an employer-employee relationship is shown in the employer’s ability to hire, pay, terminate, or control the work of the employee. As far as entrepreneurs go, they may show an employer-employee relationship if they can show the control of their work is exercised by others. Meaning the company or organization has a board of directors or its equivalent which has the right to control the owner’s employment.

There are some limits to the H-1B visas. The annual limit on H-1B visas is 65,000 and the maximum length of time someone can stay in the United States on an H-1B visa is 6 years (and if you’ve been here on an L-1 visa, the period of time on the L-1 will count toward your maximum of 6 years). However, in certain situations, it is possible to extend the 6 year maximum.

L-1A

L-1A classification enables an employer in the United States to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. If the business has yet to establish an office in the United States, this visa also allows the employer to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing an office. The main requirement is that the individual applying for the visa must have worked for at least 1 continuous year within the previous 3 years, and must have worked in the capacity of manager, executive or special knowledge work for the business.

There is no limit on the number of L-1A visas that can be given to foreign workers. With extensions, the maximum length of time someone can stay in the United States under L-1A classification is 7 years.

L-1B

L-1B classification allows a United States employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the business’ interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. Similar to the L-1A classification, L-1B also provides employers with the ability to send an employee to the United States for purposes of establishing an office there.
A petition to change status from L-1B to L-1A may be filed on behalf of the employee in order for the individual to move into a managerial or executive position.

There is no limit of the number L-1B visas that can be given to foreign workers. With extensions, the maximum length of time someone can remain in the United States under L-1B classification is 5 years.

We Can Help You Obtain The Visa That Is Right For Your Employment Situation

At Beacon Immigration, our experienced attorneys understand that the visa application process can be confusing and daunting. And, we also understand that many holders of any of the above-mentioned visas are often forced to leave the United States because their green card applications have not been approved by the time their visas expire. Or, they must leave to work abroad for another year to qualify again for their L-1 status. This can put a strain on the individual’s family members and career goals.

If you or someone you know is in need of a temporary work visa, feel free to call our office to set up an appointment to meet with one of our experienced attorneys. And, while you’re here, we can start working on the green card process so you won’t have to leave when your temporary visa expires.