The H-1B visa is specifically for foreign workers in specialty occupations such as software engineers, lawyers, accountants, UX designers. It’s for people who have a bachelor’s degree in a job-related field or an equivalent amount of work experience.
Because the demand has far exceeded the supply, a lottery process has been put into place over the years. Apparently, this process is changing this 2020 as they bring in a new digital electronic registration system which is going to be so much easier for small companies to participate in.
USCIS has changed its annual lottery timeline from April to March 1st through March 20th. The beneficiaries are selected from March 20th to March 31st. Then the preparation and submission window for selected H-1B petitions will be from April 1st to June 30th.
H-1B Visa Extension
An H-1B is initially for a three-year period maximum. Typically, a candidate can have H1-B status for up to six years in total. If a company is sponsoring that person for a green card, the person could be eligible for extensions beyond the initial six years.
Work Permit for International Students Who Graduated in the U.S.
Individuals who graduate with a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. from a U.S. institution of higher learning typically get at least one year of optional practical training (OPT), which is a work permit. Those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are eligible for an additional two years of permission to work.
To get the STEM extension, your company has to participate in the E-Verify system to make sure their documents are legit when you’re doing the I-9 verification and you’re onboarding them.
For more information on the H-1B visa process, check out Immigration Law for Tech Startups podcast. If you’d like to listen, head over to Episode 002: A Look into the H1-B System and Its New Registration Process