All Press Releases for March 18, 2009

The Race for the H-1 Visa Lottery is on... With Options

The deadline for H1b visa applications is imminent....but other options are available to those who choose wisely.

    DALLAS, TX, March 18, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The famous H-1 lottery is around the corner and candidates are scrambling for job offers and immigration lawyers. With less than two weeks to go, people are rushing to get their cases prepared in time for April 1st, 2009, the day of the H-1 lottery for FY (Fiscal Year) 2010. The lucky winners will be able to work as of October 1st, 2009.

The US immigration system is composed of visas (temporary) and Green Cards (permanent; also called 'immigrant' visas, a confusing term). One of the best known is the H-1 visa, also called the H-1B visa. Simply put, it is for people with a 4-year degree or equivalent. There are 65,000 H-1 visas available for issuance annually; in Fiscal Years 2001 through 2003, that number was 195,000. Excluded from the count are people who work at universities and non-profit organizations. Of the 65,000 H1 visas, 1400 are reserved for Chilean nationals, and 5400 are reserved for nationals of Singapore. Renewals are not counted against the cap.

The H-1b visa is one that requires a Specialty Occupation, defined as a field requiring theoretical or technical expertise in a specialized field, which primarily translates to meaning a position requiring a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent. The only exception to the rule is that it also allows for fashion models.

In the past, people could apply on or after the first of April, and there was no rush past a couple of months. Recently, however, the first day of April has caused such a rush of applications that the annual quota is exceeded on the first day of applications, which is rapidly approaching.

For many foreign people, the student visa is the beginning of the journey. They enter the country on the F-1 student visa, then, during the Optional Practical Training phase locate an employer who will 'sponsor' them for the H-1B visa. The H-1 visa is one of the few visas that allows for dual intent. People on this visa can apply for a Green Card while being on a visa. The dual intent refers to the fact that they are on a visa, which implies temporariness (all nonimmigrant visas are temporary) while applying for a Green Card, implying the intent to remain permanently. For this reason, many H-1 visa applicants apply for the Green Card while here on the H-1. The H-1 visa allows for renewal past its six-year term when a person applies for a Green Card. Therefore, although students may enter with the intent of leaving (which is required for a student visa application), the architecture allows them to remain permanently.

People who are chosen in this lottery will be able to commence employment on October 1st of this year, states Stefano Riznyk, Esq., author of and . People who miss this deadline, absent changes to the law, will have to wait until next April in order to work as of October first 2010 states Mr Riznyk. In order to avoid such a difficulty for both the employer and employee, it would be a good idea to have all the documentation ready and present it to your immigration lawyer this week.

Stefano Riznyk goes on to state that many of the people who contact him through are looking for alternatives to the H1b visa as they want to carry on with their lives and careers. For example, people from treaty countries (in summary: Western Europe, Canada, and Mexico) can qualify for E1 or E2 visas. These are for investors who are involved in import/export (E1) or other areas of business (E2). Investments can be as low as $100,000 and the visa can be renewed almost indefinitely, as long as there is a mental intent to return to the country of origin at sometime in the future. This has worked for people in many fields, including consulting, engineering, and technology. If the person is talented, can afford to invest or borrow the money, and has entrepreneurial spirit, this can be a great solution. For a complete list of all treaty countries that qualify, visit .

The second solution is a better one, but not everyone qualifies, states Stefano Riznyk. The L-1 visa is also called the Intracompany Transferee visa. The good news is that for the L-1, one does not have to be from a treaty country, so most any nation (with very few exceptions) on the planet qualifies. The bad news is that the applicant must be an executive, manager, or person with specialized knowledge with a company abroad for one year out of the past 3 and then be transferred over to a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in the United States. For someone in technology, for example, in Canada, England or India, running a company, this is easy. The person can open a branch in the US and work here as a manager or executive. Unlike the E visas, the L-1 allows a person to apply for a Green Card after he or she has had the L-1 visa for one year. The classification allows the person to be in the highest possible work-related Green Card category (EB-1) and the position does not have to be advertised.

For H-1s, there are options. One can apply for the H-1 lottery and hope it goes well, or one can take control of their lives and run the show instead of working for someone else's show. There are many pros and cons to the H-1 visa states Mr Riznyk, and there are heated arguments on both sides. However, for many people and companies it is a good choice, and for some, it is the only choice; it all depends on their perspective.


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