The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire temporary nonimmigrant workers for specialty occupations. Specialty occupations are defined as occupations requiring the application of a "body of highly... more +
The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire temporary nonimmigrant workers for specialty occupations. Specialty occupations are defined as occupations requiring the application of a "body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent." Examples of specialty occupations include chemistry, mathematics, engineering, medicine, and architecture, to name a few. Individuals may not apply for H-1B visas; they are distributed only through the approval of employer petitions. In order to protect U.S. workers from unfair competition resulting from the program, the rules require that employers pay nonimmigrant workers equivalent wages to similarly-situated U.S. workers or the industry's prevailing wage. H-1B visas are subject to a yearly cap which is currently set at 85,000.   less -
News & Analysis as of

Indians Dominate Ranks of IT Workers on H-1B Visas

About 87 percent of H-1B visas for computer jobs are issued to Indians, according to a Computerworld analysis of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) data. The publication look at about 76,000 H-1B visas issued...more

Obama Administration Announces $100 million in TechHire Grants to Support IT, Cybersecurity, Broadband Sector Training

On November 17, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the White House issued a funding announcement releasing $100 million in grants as a part of the Obama Administration’s TechHire Initiative, which specifically calls out...more

Planning Ahead: H-1Bs for FY2017

As a reminder to all U.S. employers, H-1B season is almost here! United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will start accepting new H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2017 on Friday, April 1, 2016. As such,...more

Contingency Planning for the Upcoming H-1B Season

The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows foreign workers in certain occupations to legally live and work in the United States for a U.S. employer. In recent years, a growing number of foreign workers have applied for H-1B visas,...more

DOL Misclassification Guidance on Independent Contractors Could Affect Certain Nonimmigrant Visa Classifications

On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance to clarify when workers can be classified as independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This Administrator’s Interpretation...more

New STEM OPT Extension Rules to Extend the Program Have Been Proposed

On October 19, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security published eagerly anticipated proposed STEM OPT Extension rules that, if adopted would allow U.S. employers greater flexibility for employing foreign nationals...more

You Down with OPT? DHS Proposes Longer Post-Graduate Work Authorization for STEM Graduates, with a Catch

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule that would amend its F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations regarding optional practical training (OPT) for students with higher education degrees...more

DHS Proposes New Rule for STEM OPT Extension

New rule would extend STEM optional practical training to 24 months. On October 19, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend its F-1 nonimmigrant student...more

Proposed New Rule May Save the STEM OPT Program

The optional practical training (OPT) program allows students here on an F-1 visa (who have either graduated or been pursuing a degree for 9 months) to work in their chosen field of study for one year. In 2008, the U.S....more

Update on STEM OPT Work Permit Extension: Administrative Process for Regulation Is Underway

In response to Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle’s ruling in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al., No. 14-529 (August 12, 2015) that vacated the previous regulations on STEM...more

Department of Homeland Security Regulation Benefitting STEM Employers Thrown into Question

A federal district judge recently issued a 37-page decision vacating a 2008 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation that has helped thousands of U.S. companies hire and retain foreign students holding U.S. degrees in...more

Public Law 111-230 H-1B, L-1 Additional Fees Expire

H-1B and L-1 petitions filed on or after Oct. 1, 2015, should not include the additional fee that was previously required by Section 402 of Public Law 111-230, as amended by Public Law 111-347, for certain H-1B and L-1...more

When Transferring Employees to the U.S., Foreign Employers Should Consider Impact if Proposed Changes to Overtime Exemption Are...

On July 6, 2015, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposed a revision to the “white collar” overtime exemption rule. As explained by Littler when it testified before the House Subcommittee, “the proposed white collar...more

DHS Sends New STEM OPT Rule to OMB For Review

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent its proposed regulation on the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week. A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is...more

USCIS Will Begin Accepting Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2017 on April 1, 2016

The filing period for new H-1B petitions to be counted against the annual H-1B quota (or H-1B cap) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 will begin on Friday, April 1, 2016. Cap-subject H-1B petitions will have an employment start date...more

Filing Fees Lowered for H-1B and L-1 Dependent Employers

Since 2010, dependent employers have been required to pay an additional filing fee of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions. Dependent employers are those employers who employ 50 or...more

A Potential Federal Government Shutdown: The Immigration Implications for Employers

Congress has until September 30, 2015 to reach an agreement on the 2016 Fiscal Year federal budget. If an agreement to fund the federal government is not reached, immigration processes are expected to be impacted as they were...more

USCIS Issues New Procedures for Determining Time for Filing Green Card Application

On September 9, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) promulgated new procedures for determining the visa availability date for individuals waiting to file employment- and family-based applications for...more

US Visa Options for Foreign Entrepreneurs

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 400,000 new businesses are started annually in the United States. If you’re a foreign citizen who is interested in launching a new business in the United States, a corporate...more

H-1B Alternatives Series: Concurrent H-1B Employment

In 2014, Massachusetts created the Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program (GEIR), a program meant to capitalize on the opportunities provided by concurrent H-1B employment. Under this program, universities partnered with...more

My Company Wishes to Hire Foreign National Workers – Now What? Navigating the U.S. Visa Alphabet Soup

Many employers are reluctant to hire foreign national workers because they are intimidated by the difficult and uncertain nature of immigration law. Our clients often find that with proper strategic direction from counsel and...more

Department of State Releases October 2015 Visa Bulletin

A new category of “filing” cutoff dates has been introduced to allow for earlier filing of adjustment of status applications and immigrant visa applications. The US Department of State (DOS) has released its October 2015...more

Immigration Laws Impacting the Workplace

The H-1B visa program has been one of the most successful programs in U.S. immigration history, allowing for U.S. entities to hire and place highly skilled workers, holding at least a bachelors’ degree or the equivalent, into...more

H-1B Alternative Series: Flexibility in Foreign Trade and Treaty Visas

Our series exploring alternatives to the H-1B continues with foreign trade and treaty visas. Was your petition one of the estimated 148,000 not selected in this year’s H-1B lottery? Is your client from one of the 79...more

Federal Court Vacates STEM Extension Program

Current STEM OPT holders not affected until February 2016. A federal judge's ruling earlier this month invalidated the 17-month extension of optional practical training (OPT) for international students in the science,...more

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