What is H1b visa (work permit)?
The H1B visa program is the major method for employers to hire International professionals and International students to work in the USA. The H1B visa enables US employers to hire foreign professionals for a specified period of time. The H1B program allows specialty occupation workers to work in the US for up to a total of six years.
H1b is a "dual intent" visa. This means that a visa will not be denied simply because a person has intentions to become a permanent resident. The assumption is that if for some reason the permanent residency petition is denied, the person would still have the intention to return home.
Aside from documenting that the position offered is in a specialty occupation and that the employee has the appropriate credentials for the job, the employer needs to verify that the H1B visa worker is being paid the prevailing wage for the work being performed and that employment of a foreign worker is not harming conditions for US workers.
A specialty occupation is one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelorís or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty. For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are specialty occupations.
To get a h1b visa you should work in one of the specialty occupation.
Duration of Stay on H1B
The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six. An exception to maximum length of stay applies in certain circumstances.
one-year extensions if a labor certification application has been filed and is pending for at least 365 days; and
three-year extensions if an I-140 Immigrant Petition has been approved.
Despite a limit on length of stay, no requirement exists that the individual remain for any period in the job the visa was originally issued for. This is known as H1B portability or transfer, provided the new employer sponsors another H1B visa, which may or may not be subjected to the quota. Under current law, H1B visa has no stipulated grace period in the event the employer-employee relationship ceases to exist.
How many H1B visas Available?
The current law limits to 65,000 the number of aliens who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status each fiscal year (FY). The numerical limitation was temporarily raised to 195,000 in FY2001, FY2002 and FY2003. In addition, excluded from the ceiling are all H-1B non-immigrants who work at (but not necessarily for) universities and non-profit research facilities. This means that contractors working at, but not directly employed by the institution may be exempt from the cap. Free Trade Agreements allow a carve out from the numerical limit of 1,400 for Chilean nationals and 5,400 for Singapore nationals. Laws also exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a masterís or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H-1B visas.
The Department of Homeland Security approved about 132,000 H-1B visas in 2004 and 117,000 in 2005.
Special Quota for Masters Students in USA?..
20,000 special quota of h1b visas available for masters studetns in USA.