2016 was a record year for new H-1B visa filings. Stefan Lehtis, Executive Recruiter at Smith Hanley Associates, sat down with a specialist in immigration law, Ray McEntee, of McEntee Law Group, for a question and answer session. It is never too early to start looking into the steps you need to take to obtain long-term legal work status in the U.S.!
Stefan: What are things someone seeking sponsorship can do to improve their chances of receiving an H-1B visa in the lottery?
Ray: The H-1B lottery is random* so you cannot increase your chances of being selected. Obviously, if you’re not in, you cannot win so it’s vital that you begin the process well in advance of the April 1 H-1B filing deadline. To ensure your case is ready to go, you should work with an experienced immigration attorney who will advise you on the steps involved. Generally, it is advisable to have the following ready to go: educational documents (diplomas, transcripts) in PDF format; updated CV; detailed day-to-day duties of proposed position; and copies of all previous immigration documents (visa stamps, forms etc.). While you cannot increase your chances of random selection, you can increase your chances of getting your case approved if it is ultimately selected. Thus, it’s important to choose your immigration attorney wisely.
*Please note that individuals from certain countries (Chile, Singapore) have a specific allocation of H-1B visas. Additionally, 20,000 H-1B numbers are reserved for those with a U.S. Master’s or higher degree.
Stefan: Generally speaking what are the chances of receiving in H-1B in the lottery?
Ray: This year, there was approximately a 1 in 4 chance of getting your case selected in the lottery.
Stefan: Does country of origin have an impact on the timeline for receiving your Green Card?
Ray: It can. Citizens of certain countries (India, China, Philippines, Mexico) might have to wait longer that citizens of other countries for green cards depending on the basis for the application and the specific green card category. The Visa Bulletin is a helpful resource to track Visa availability.
Stefan: As an immigration lawyer do you typically represent the employer or employee?
Ray: Most immigration cases actually involve dual representation. Thus, we would represent both the employer and the employee in employment-based cases and both spouses or family members in family-based applications.
McEntee Law Group encourages you to utilize their H-1B Guide 2016 and other sources on their website. The executive recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates hope you have found this information helpful in making the next step on the path to your green card.