H1B Visa: Things You Might Have Missed

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Keeping up with the times is easier said than done. Towards that end, here are some of the questions that people think of when it comes to the H1B visa, but never truly get the answers to. Here are some of those very questions, and their answers in detail. 

H1B Visa: What Makes It Difficult to Get?

As popular as the H1B visa program is, mainly due to the favorable duration and fast processing time, it does come with its set of disadvantages. You need to keep track of all its disadvantages before deciding on your plans to work in the US. Here are a few of the H1B visa downsides that you need to keep in mind before signing up.

Source: deccanchronicle

Lottery

The H1B visas’ main disadvantage is the annual limit on how many visas should be approved. While the limits are much lesser in other immigration schemes, the H1B visa being extremely popular, receives three times more applications than all the other visas. The visas are approved through a randomized lottery system, which means a lot of your visa approval depends on your luck and your odds at being chosen by the lottery. But you can always maneuver through this by opting for a cap-exempt status, so do look for government agencies and NGOs, and educational institutions that are exempted from this annual cap.

Extensions

As compared to various popular visas like the E2, O1, and TN classifications, the H1B visa has a fairly larger duration of stay, but you can only extend your stay for as long as six years. But with the other aforementioned visas, you get much longer extensions, and sometimes, you can also extend your duration indefinitely. But this is not the case with the H1B visa.

But under certain circumstances, you can extend your H1B visa beyond the six-year limit. You can contact your immigration attorney for more guidance.

Inflexible Dates

The H1B visa comes with a strict deadline, mainly because of the lottery process and the high amount of applications received by the USCIS for this particular visa. You cannot file your petition until April 1st. And in case if your petition is selected and approved, you can’t start with your job until the 1st of October of the same year. Your premium processing also offers fewer benefits in the case of H1B.

You can avail of other visa schemes for a more fluid timeline for petitioning and starting employment.

Job Offer

The H1B visa is an employer-sponsored visa, which means that the petition can only be filed on your behalf by your employer. Finding sponsors for H1B can be a difficult task.

If you don’t have a job offer from a US-based firm, you can apply for the E2 and O1 visas, which do not require a job offer.

Fees

Despite the USCIS rules stating that your employer must pay all H1B petitioning fees, the fee scale is steep and can discourage employers from sponsoring you. The overall expenditure amounts to about $7,000 for your H1B visa.  

But you can apply for the TN visa, which can cost as little as $500.

Employee Exploitation

The H1B visa is extremely prone to misuse and exploitation. In fact, there have been many instances of unlawful contractual working schedules of employees. This can lead to deportation.

It would help if you were extremely careful while selecting your employers and ensuring a fair and lawful working environment to avoid the above.

Does Your Country Matter for H1B Visa?

The H1B visa is a beacon of hope for people all over the world. It is an immigration program for people belonging to the specialty occupations category. The H1B visa is a dual intent employer-sponsored visa. But many people tend to get skeptical about being rejected based on their country. The truth is, this is a dicey question to answer considering the recent developments in the existing visa policy.

Source: Firstpost

The H1B visa offers no restrictions in terms of your home country. People worldwide can avail of this visa program as long as they meet the same requirements and criteria. But at the same time, the Trump administration in a recent policy change introduced a travel ban for Muslim majority countries in the wake of the imminent threat of terrorism.

This sparked a global controversy while many Muslims were deported and barred from entering the US. This move was purely xenophobic and considerably impacted the travel plans of many Asian citizens and people from the Middle East.

But the bottom line is that as long as you have the required qualifications, a job offer, and you meet all the other requirements listed down by the USCIS, your visa application will be approved without prejudice.

However, it is difficult to say anything about some of the Muslim nations, as many proposed changes have to be ratified by the Senate and the Consulate, and many hopefuls are waiting for the final verdict. Conjectures point out that this is a temporary move, while many others assert that this may be a permanent change in the immigration systems. In fact, there have been instances of the Consulate refusing entry to citizens depending on their relationship with their home country.

Minimum Wage of H-1B Holder Increased by $30,000

There had been quite a lot of speculations about H-1B rule changes. Finally, the verdict is out. Many people thought that the US government would increase the minimum required wage to $100,000. But it isn’t that bad. The federal government increased the $60,000 by $30,000 to $90,000. The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill on Thursday morning. Some sources say that the bill was also mentioned to impose some further restrictions on Indian IT professionals and software engineers who mostly use the H-1B to come to the US.

The bill will now move on to the Senate for approval, after which it will be sent to the White House for approval. Once it is approved, the bill will turn into a law. Foreign workers replacing locals at the workplace has been Trump’s biggest target since he took over in January 2017. After the bill is passed, many Indian freshers will have to drop their hope of working in the US because no one will give a recent graduate as much as $90,000 as an annual salary.

While Indian techies in the US are vulnerable, the Indian government has done almost nothing about it. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, did say that she raised the H-1B visa issue strongly with Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, during his visit to India recently.

India’s Contribution to the US economy

A report by the Confederation of Indian Industry reveals that Indian companies have created 113,000 jobs in the US. These companies have also invested $18 billion in the US. The companies have also contributed $147 million for corporate social responsibility activities and $588 million as research and development expenses in the US.

Considering the contribution, which is the highest by any country, the US government should relax the rules for Indian techies.

 

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