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The H-1B Specialty (Professional) Workers allows an employer to temporarily employ a foreign worker in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant basis in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.
A specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the specific specialty (e.g., sciences, medicine and healthcare, education, biotechnology, and business specialties, etc…). Current laws limit the number of foreign workers who may be issued a visa or otherwise be provided H-1B status to 65,000.
Effective January 1, 2004, the H-1B1 program became available, allowing employers to request foreign workers in the U.S. in a specialty occupation from Chile and Singapore. Current laws limit the number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-1B1 visa to 6,800. For more information regarding H-1B1 petitions, see the USCIS website or Consular sections for Chile or Singapore.
The H-1B and H-1B1 certification is valid for the period up to three years of employment. For more information on extended stay possibilities, see the USCIS website. The employer completes preliminary actions prior to filing an application with the DOL, which must determine the prevailing wage for the position. The employer must also inform U.S. workers of the intent to hire a foreign worker by posting (i.e., e-mail, bulletin board, and home web page) of the completed Labor Condition Application (LCA) for the position. The posting must occur within the 30-day period preceding the date that the labor condition application is submitted to the DOL. Posting may occur in one of two methods: hard copy or electronic notice. The hard copy notice must be given to the bargaining representative for workers in the occupation or, if there is no bargaining representative, be posted for 10 consecutive days in at least two conspicuous locations at each place of employment. A copy of the LCA must also be provided to each nonimmigrant.
LCAs must be submitted electronically via the Department’s LCA Online System. Employers submitting LCAs (Form ETA 9035E) via the LCA Online System can expect a response in minutes or, in the case of a question regarding the prevailing wage source, within seven working days. Assistance in electronically filing LCA’s may be obtained by contacting LCAHelp@dol.gov. Employers with physical disabilities that prohibit them from filing electronic applications may submit a written request to file their labor condition applications via U.S. mail. Such requests must be made prior to submitting an application and should be addressed to: Chief, Division of Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor, Room C-4312, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210. If the LCA is returned for correction, the employer may correct or resubmit their original application. Any resubmissions will be processed as if they are new requests (first come, first-served basis).
Upon DOL certification, the employer files the USCIS Form I-129, the required filing fee, and other supporting documentation (including the approved LCA) to USCIS. Unless specifically exempt under the law, the employer must pay USCIS filing fees.
More information on this program can be retrieved on the U.S. DOL Foreign Labor Certification – H1-B Specialty (Professional) Workers Internet. This office for this program upon receiving request forms issues prevailing wages & job orders.