What is the H1-B Program? Attorney Laura Jurcevich Explains

Laura Jurcevich

November is Family Stories Month.  For many in this country, immigration is a large piece of the family story, including tales of navigating our country’s complex immigration system.  At Perez & Morris, we are privileged to have assisted countless individuals, companies  large and small, universities and hospitals through the process of immigrating to the United States, in large part due to the experience and knowledge of attorney Laura Jurcevich.  Laura has been practicing immigration law for 9 years and has considerable experience assisting employers in obtaining H1-B visas for employees in specialty occupations.

The H-1B Program: What Is It?

The H1-B program allows US employers to obtain employment authorization for their employees who are in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is one in which a bachelor’s degree or higher degree is normally the minimum requirement for the position. The H-1B process is a 2-step process. Step 1 involves obtaining a labor condition application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). Through the LCA, the employer informs the DOL of the position, prevailing wage, offered wage, place of employment, and length of expected employment. The employer agrees to pay the employee the higher of the prevailing wage or actual wage and has notified the collective bargaining representative, if applicable, or other similarly situated employees of its intent to fill the position with an H-1B nonimmigrant, i.e. posted legal notice at place of employment. This step requires some preliminary steps, such as obtaining a prevailing wage determination and compiling the public inspection file. Once the LCA is approved and certified, then step 2 requires the employer file the I-129 petition with USCIS, former INS. This petition requests the position be classified as a specialty occupation and the employee’s status be changed to H-1B status or, in the alternative, a H-1B visa be provided to the employee if outside the US. Once approved, the employee can begin working for the employer in H-1B status in accordance with the validity period.

Contact Laura for advice on the H1-B process or any of your other immigration-related questions.  We would be honored to be a part of the family story.

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