The annual roller coaster ride known as the H-1B visa application process is about to go up the hill and come speeding down, with unknown twists and turns coming your way.
For the next four weeks, employers are scrambling to decide whether to sponsor foreign nationals for professional positions, American university grads from foreign countries are scrambling for sponsor companies, the Department of Labor is analyzing labor conditions applications for these potential jobs positions. to determine (and inflate) minimum wages to dissuade companies from sponsoring, and Immigration Service is waiting for the flood of petitions to pour in the first week in April, so it can randomly choose which ones to review and which ones to reject.
No, this is not the circus or Dante’s Inferno. This is the process that the U.S. federal government uses to decide which companies can hire the world’s best and brightest, including engineers, scientists, technology specialists and mathematicians, for example, i.e. the kind of people the U.S. has a shortage of, and who we need to keep up with the likes of China, Germany, the UK, etc.
So how can U.S. employers maneuver through this chaos successfully? Here are some suggestions:
- Maximize your odds by hiring U.S. Masters degree holders: There is a separate annual cap of 20,000 visas for foreign nationals who have U.S. masters degrees, versus only 65,000 for non-U.S. university degree holders. All things being equal, sponsor someone who has a 2/3 chance to get their petition chosen in the random lottery, rather than 1/3 chance, based on the number of petitions filed in the past two
- Know your budget and be prepared to pay more or employ part-time: The U.S. Department of Labor tries to dissuade U.S. employers by requiring higher-than-normal salary minimums for H-1B candidates, so you need to be sure you can pay the wage. If it does not meet your budget, you can pro-rate the salary and hire part-time because H-1B does not require full-time employment.
- Be ready to start at level 2: Last year, a majority of H-1B cases at the lowest salary level were questioned with requests for evidence, and many were denied The take-home lesson is to start at level 2, even if you have to do it part-time, to reduce the risk of denial.
- Be linear: Try to present position titles that come as close as possible to matching the candidate’s degree. Choosing a psychology major for a client relations specialist will make the chances of proving that there is a logical nexus between the two more difficult and raise the chances of denial. Worry less about the internal title and use the generic one and try to match the position to the degree.
Getting in the H-1B lottery only means you get a chance to have your case adjudicated. That may be the easy part, given the administration, we are being governed by. The above tips might just you and your foreign national candidate to the end of the roller coaster ride, in one piece and ready to work together.