The H1B work visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows workers in some occupations to enter the US and work in the US for a specific employer. If a worker enters the US on a H-1B work visa and loses his job, he or she must leave the US, adjust their status, or apply for new work (which may requiring a change of visa or status as well). In most cases, the H-1B work visa is granted to workers in specific, specialized work. For example, the H1B visa may be used in industries such as social sciences, engineering, architecture, mathematics, the sciences, medicine, biotechnology, business, the arts, education, law, theology, accounting, or other similar professions. In most cases, the H1B work visa is granted to people who have at least a bachelor’s degree in their field. However, this is does not always apply to professionals in the arts. Models, for example, do not usually need to show higher levels of education to secure a H-1B work visa.
Under a H1B visa, a workers can stay and work in the US for the sponsoring employer only for three years. After three years, the visa can be extended to a maximum of six years. In some cases, further extensions of a visa are possible. While it is agreed that workers entering the US on a H1B work visa work for their sponsoring employer, in some cases the job simply does not work. In some cases, the employer-employee relationship falls apart while in other situations economic changes result in the elimination of jobs. In these cases, employees can find new work as long as a new employer aggress to apply for a new H-1B work visa.
Each year, only up to 65, 000 H1B visas are issued, so competition can be intense for this type of work authorization. In some years, the cap is raised. As well, all H1B work visa employees who work for non-profit research organizations or universities are not affected by the 65, 000 cap. Other exceptions include nations who hold at least a master’s degree and some Singapore and Chilean nationals.
One concern with the H-1B work visa is that workers entering the US on a H1B visa do not adversely affect the working conditions, job opportunities, or wages of US employees in the same fields. For this reason, a number of restrictions exist to ensure that employers simply do not hire H1B workers for less or hire them in lieu of US workers.