American businesses that require highly skilled workers have the option of looking at international candidates who are working in the United States on a visa or who are graduating from an U.S. college. This is made possible through the H-1B visa program.
There are a few steps in the H-1B process for hiring foreign nationals who are already in the country. These steps include:
- Establishing the prevailing wage for the position: The prevailing wage is determined by the statistical average pay for workers performing the same job in the same area.
- Filing a Labor Condition Application: You must file this form with the U.S. Department of Labor, verifying that your proposed hiring of the H-1B worker fulfills the requirements for wages and working conditions.
- Filing a Petition on Form I-129: This document is filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Form I-129: More information
The process of preparing and filing the H-1B petition (Form I-129) may be the most complicated part of the process. To accomplish this, the employer must include certain information with the application, including:
- The Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, H Classification Supplement to Form I-129, and the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement, the first two of which require signatures.
- A letter of support from the employer confirming their job offer to the potential foreign employee and outlining all terms and conditions of the arrangement.
- Copies of the foreign worker’s immigration and identification documents, as needed. These documents could include their passport, visa, USCIS Forms I-797, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, and/or SEVIS Form I-20 (for F-1 students).
- Copies of all transcripts and educational degrees of the foreign worker. U.S. equivalency evaluation reports are required if the degrees and transcripts are from another country.
- Documentation proving the foreign worker has lawful status in the United States.
- A base filing fee (visit www.uscis.gov for current fee information).
- Fraud prevention fee and ACWIA fee, unless an exemption applies to the foreign worker (again, visit www.uscis.gov for fee information).
- Public Law 114-113 Fee, required for any employer with 50 or more employees based in the United States, at least half of whom are in L or H-1B status.
- An LCA (certified labor condition application) from the Department of Labor.
For more information on what you need to collect and the steps you must take to hire an employee through the H-1B visa program, contact an experienced international law attorney in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Ravinder S. Nagi is Assistant Managing Attorney and Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Practice Group at BoltNagi, a widely respected and well-established international law firm serving individuals and businesses throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.