Florida Immigration Attorneys

H-1B The Specialty Occupation Visa

Each year there are a limited number of specialty occupation visas (H-1B) available for qualified employers and employees. In many fiscal years (FY) the CAP on the number of available H-1B visas is reached on the first day open for filing. In recent years the window for filing again has been steadily shrinking and appears to be heading toward an abbreviated filing period for FY 2014.

Every employer or employee that is considering the use of the H-1B visa should begin preparation in the next several weeks so that a fully prepared application may be filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) on or about the first date of availability. The anticipated opening day for filing for FY 2014 is April 1, 2013, and the first day that employment may commence is October 1, 2013.

The H-1B is available to persons that are in a specialty occupation or distinguished merit and ability fashion models or a person in development or coproduction project associated with the US Department of Defense (DOD)

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines a specialty occupation as:

  • Theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge, and

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or equivalent in specialty occupation as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S.

The position must meet one of:

    1. Minimum of a baccalaureate or higher degree or equivalent for entry into the particular position; or

    2. Degree requirement is common in industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or the particular position is so complex or unique that a degree is required; or

    3. Employer normally requires a degree or equivalent; or

    4. Nature of specific duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with attainment of a degree.

    Evaluation criteria:

    1. Actual requirements of position;

    2. Knowledge, both theoretical and applied gained mostly at an educational institution;

    3. Precise and specific course of study relating to the position;

    4. Obtaining a college degree in business or liberal arts is not of itself enough.

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