For small businesses that want to hire international workers for their business, an H1B work visa offers an excellent solution. Visa petitions for this type of permit require businesses to demonstrate the value that this particular foreign worker can offer their business.

If you want to bring an employee to the U.S. on an H1B visa, here is what you need to know about this type of permit and the process for securing it for your new hire.

What Is an H-1B Visa?

Specifically, an H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Its purpose revolves around allowing foreign employees to come to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. Once the visa receives approval, the employee can come and work for three years before needing to renew the visa. It can then be renewed for a second three years for a total of up to 6 years. The sole exception to this comprises defense contractors, who can get up to 10 years for their jobs.

If you hire an employee under an H1B visa and after the six years you want them to continue to work for your company, they will have to secure a green card through their job.

The H1B visa creates a unique and desirable situation for many people interested in working in the United States. It allows dependents to stay with the person who has the visa. In other words, those who get hired under this type of visa can bring the family to the U.S. with them.

Those who have an H1B visa can also freely travel to and from their country, which makes it easy for people to visit family and friends who may have remained in their country of origin.

Who Can Be H1B Visa Sponsors?

Since the H1B visa is a work visa, it must be sponsored by an employer. As an employer, you also can't just sponsor anyone for the visa. You have to show that this prospective employee will add considerable value to your organization and they and the job position they take must meet certain qualifications.

The employee themselves must have gained valuable knowledge through a specific course of study. If the position requires any type of license, the applicant must also have these qualifications. In other words, the person that you would like to hire needs to demonstrate genuine expertise in the field.

Positions filled by employees with an H1B visa must require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. A master's degree would likely help to further demonstrate the high qualifications of this particular candidate. Additionally, having an advanced degree from qualified institutions can help boost your chances by allowing you entrance into a H1B lottery.

What Steps Does My Business Go Through for H1B Visa Sponsorship?

To successfully sponsor an employee for an H1B visa, you will need to follow a few important steps and file key paperwork to obtain approval. We will walk you through an overview of the process that you will need to prepare for in advance. Always remember that diligent preparation will help you to secure the visa your employee needs to fill their role.

Find an Employee to Meet Your Job Requirements

When filling a position with a worker with H1B status, your first step is to outline the job description, including noting if it will be part-time or full-time. You want to make sure the role meets the educational eligibility requirements to get the visa. You will then need to search for an employee who can meet your requirements.

As you look for eligible employees among foreign workers, you should also keep in mind that some candidates and employers can go through an easier process. They are known as H1B cap-exempt. Employees can be cap-exempt if they previously qualified for H1B status but didn't use their entire six years. Employers can be considered cap-exempt if they fall into particular industries, such as certain nonprofits. Learn more about who can go through this alternate process here.

Once you find a candidate you want to hire, you can prepare to make a job offer, but you do need to make sure you go through a few key steps first.

Let Your Employees Know About Your Pursuit of H1B Workers

If you have not successfully found a candidate locally, you must notify your employees about your intention of using H1B workers. You can create a public posting with your job title. It is important to note that this step must be completed at least thirty days before you move on to the next step in the process.

File a Labor Condition Application With the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)

Before you can complete the H-1B petition, you will need to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In this petition, you will need to demonstrate that you meet a few key legal characteristics in your job posting.

  • This application must demonstrate that the prospective employee will be filling a specialty occupation and that they can meet the necessary qualifications
  • You must also demonstrate that you will pay the foreign worker the prevailing wage. In other words, you cannot bring someone in from abroad and pay them less than you would have paid domestic workers.
  • You must also show that your current employees will not experience negative outcomes from your decision to hire internationally.
  • You cannot make an international hire like this if your business is currently involved in any type of dispute regarding your labor conditions.

Fill Out the H-1B Petition

Once you fill out the LCA, you will need to wait for your submission to be approved. This typically is approved within a few days. Once you have your approval, you can move forward with the paperwork for the actual petition.

The petition paperwork will come in a packet, containing a variety of forms that you need to complete. Among them will be Form G-28 and Form I-129. These forms will call for you to provide proof of your prospective employees' needed skills and that the worker and your position meet all criteria outlined by the H1B visa process. The packet will then be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who will review it.

Pay Any Associated Fees

As the employer files the petition, filing fees will also need to be paid. There is a $460 filing fee to start, with a variety of other fees that can accumulate depending upon factors such as the size of your business and your industry.

The entire process can take a few months to process, but if you need to secure the visa quickly, you do have the option of paying for premium processing. This can help you move the process forward significantly faster if you need your employee available to start working immediately.

The Worker Secures Their Visa

If your petition is approved, you, as the employer, will receive a notification. Then the H1-B worker can take the completed information to apply for their visa to enter the country. They will need to take the petition and all the related information and submit it to the US Department of State at either a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. They can then begin the process of traveling to the United States and beginning their jobs.

Once your new employee arrives, you can progress through your hiring and onboarding process as you typically would.

Track Your Business Finances With Skynova

As you go through the application process for an H1B employee for your business, you will find that having strong accounting software available can help you better manage your business and prepare for the expenses associated with having a nonimmigrant worker.

As we discussed, some fees and resources go into applying for an H1B visa for a new employee. You will also want to track your progress with this employee to make sure that your investment has paid off. With accounting software like Skynova, which has been specifically designed for small business owners like you, you can easily track your expenses and your revenue. You will find that it has never been easier to gauge your financial situation than when using Skynova.

In addition to the accounting software, this small business accounting platform offers free templates that you can use for a variety of accounting needs. The learning center, which offers articles on a wide range of topics related to accounting, can help you confidently navigate your accounting needs.

Building a business requires enough work and resources. See how easy accounting can be with Skynova. Give yourself more time to spend on your business and less time poring over your accounting ledgers. Get started with Skynova now.

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines concerning hiring and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a professional accountant to ensure you're meeting accounting standards.