US Work Visas - Understanding H-1B Visas For Your Best Chance to Work in the US
Each year only 65,000 H-1B Visas are issued in the US. These are considered "specialty" visas, and they are available to professionals in certain occupations. To qualify for an H-1B visa, an applicant mus t usually have, at least, a bachelor's degree. For instance, doctors, engineers, or computer programmers are examples of professionals that my qualify. Researchers, teachers, and architects would also be good, though less thought of, examples of professionals who could get accepted.
The new filling season begins on April 1st of each year, and that is the best time to apply. That means that both the employee, and the potential employer, should have paperwork completed well before that date. Since there is always a high demand for the limited amount of visas that are allowed, that also means that employers should begin their recruiting process early if they anticipate using H-1B applicants to fill positions.
There are some exceptions to the 65,000 visa limit. For instance, students who graduate from a US university with a degree above a master's degree can qualify for an additional 20,000 visas. However, these visas are also in high demand. Of course, the normal 65,000 visa limit is not all about the time of filing. The US has a schedule of preference, and will assign visas according to that schedule. An individual with special abilities, or who has earned national or international acclaim will be first on the list. In other words, a Noble Prize winning science or famous musician would be likely to gain a visa.
People who hold advanced degrees, or those with special experience in a chosen field, or who have demonstrated special abilities in the arts or sciences will be second on the list. These would be very well qualified individuals for positions that the US has a demonstrated that they have a shortage of labor for.
However there are also plenty of spots for other professionals. The first two preference groups do not make up the majority of the visas that are actually issued, probably because not that many people who fit the qualifications apply.
If you would like to work in the US, make sure you understand the work visa rules. That way you will understand how you qualify to work here, so you know which level of preference your visa will be considered under. It is also important to have the correct paperwork in order, and to have it filed promptly.