March 28, 2014

Start-Ups and H1-B Visas

Two years ago USCIS announced it would increase its efforts to optimize visas for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in an attempt to encourage investment and bolster the economy. Despite the governments efforts there are still a number of barriers to start-ups obtaining H1-B approvals.

In the last issue of  American Immigration Lawyer's The Voice,  they pointed out several important factors USCIS will look at when adjudicating an H1-B petition:

1. Is there a bona fide job offer?

There must be a bona fide offer, it cannot simply be an accommodation for a friend. If the financial condition of the start up is questionable USCIS will request evidence of the petitioners financial condition to determine if there is a bona fide offer.

2. Employers Actual Need and Sufficiency

USCIS may also question whether the employer actually NEEDS the H1-B position. USCIS wants to see that there is enough specialty occupation work for the beneficiary throughout the period of validity of the visa and that the beneficiary will not be performing non-specialty occupation work, such as sales, administrative tasks, etc.

3. Facilities for Work

USCIS also often asks if the employer has facilities to accommodate the work of the beneficiary. If there is, evidence should be provided of the facility. If not, as is often the case with start-ups, then there will need to be an explanation of alternative work arrangements.

For the full article by Ekaterina Powell click here.

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