Immigration issues: What is an H-1B visa?


President Donald Trump will be in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, introducing his “Buy American, Hire American” campaign.

The president will be signing an executive order directing the various agencies to work to prevent fraud when it comes to immigration and to make sure visas are awarded to the "most-skilled or highest-paid applicants" who come from a foreign country to work in a specific job in the U.S.

Here’s a look at the H-1B visas, who gets them and how they work.

What is a visa?

Here's how the State Department says:

“A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.

"Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.

… U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.”

What is an H-1B visa?

The H1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa. The visa allows foreigners to work in the United States on a temporary basis for up to six years.

How do you get one? 

To get an H1B visa, the person who is to employ a foreign citizen must first offer that person a job and then must apply for the H1B visa with the U.S. Department of Immigration. Once the petition is approved, the visa serves as a permit to work in the United States for a specified period of time.

Who can get one?

The H1B visa is for those in specialty occupations; those who possess a body of specialized knowledge for a particular job, and those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.

Some of the occupations include under H1B are:

-Accounting
-Architecture
-Arts
-Biotechnology
-Business specialties
-Chemistry
-Education
-Engineering
-Law
-Mathematics
-Medicine and health
-Physical sciences,
-Social sciences
-Theology

What if they leave the job or the job is discontinued?

If the job is lost or discontinued, a foreign worker under an H1B visa must apply for a change of status to another non-immigrant status, or find another employer. If they can do neither, they must leave the United States. As of Jan. 17, the department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services modified the rules to allow a grace period of up to 60 days to have the status changed or to leave the country.

How many people get an H-1B visa each year?

H-1B visas admit 65,000 workers each year. Another 20,000 graduate student workers are also allowed in the country on the H-1B.

How are they awarded?

They are awarded by a random lottery.

How will the process change after today?

Trump’s executive order will instruct federal agencies to tighten oversight of H1-B visas to help prevent abuse of the system.

 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Net neutrality vote: FCC OKs repeal of Obama-era rules
Net neutrality vote: FCC OKs repeal of Obama-era rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules meant to stop broadband companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who put forth the planned repeal and voted in favor of it Thursday, said it “certainly wasn’t heavy-handed...
Suspect in 2 Georgia bank robberies arrested in South Carolina
Suspect in 2 Georgia bank robberies arrested in South Carolina

Authorities have arrested a man they say was responsible for bank robberies in metro Atlanta, Athens and South Carolina. Athens-Clarke County police and FBI agents arrested Frank Douglas, 58, on Tuesday in South Carolina, police spokesman Epifanio Rodriguez said in an emailed statement. Douglas was arrested on an unrelated charge, Rodriguez said. However...
DeKalb mom fights to help 8-year-old after suicide attempt in class
DeKalb mom fights to help 8-year-old after suicide attempt in class

The boy’s face was sullen as he tried — and failed — to concentrate on homework in his DeKalb County living room. Tears started to roll when his mom asked if he was OK. She tried to pick him up to hug his neck, but his body went limp, deflated.  The mother is struggling to help the 8-year-old after he attempted suicide in...
A new Georgia state senator returns from Alabama with hard-won lessons
A new Georgia state senator returns from Alabama with hard-won lessons

Doug Jones celebrates his election victory. (Bob Miller/The New York Times) Just after Nikema Williams won a runoff to represent an Atlanta-based Senate district, she got a phone call from Doug Jones operatives. They wanted her in Alabama to help with his U.S. Senate campaign. Immediately. And thus Williams, two days removed from her victory...
Snellville approves plan for walking, biking trails throughout city
Snellville approves plan for walking, biking trails throughout city

Snellville City Council approved the Greenway Master plan this week, clearing the path for a system of four recreation and transportation trails to be built within the city. The plan was approved unanimously. It is intended to increase Snellville’s walkability, city planner Austin Shelton said in a city release. “The goal is to create a...
More Stories