We Have a Recent Grad Who is From a Foreign Country, But She Can't Work for Us Long-term. What is the Process if We Would Like to Continue to Employ Her?

Spring is the time for hope, lingering snow (for many of us) and H-1B visa filings.  If you hired a foreign student who received a professional degree from a U.S. university, then she likely has only 12 months of work authority available post-graduation; 29 months if she graduated in a STEM program and you participate in E-Verify.  After that she needs to transition to a work visa, which you could sponsor for her.  Likely that would be the H-1B visa.

Now is the time to act. H-1B visas are not easy to come by and planning is recommended for several reasons. First, for new visas you must file on April 1, for a visa that would be issued October 1. Second, unless something changes there will likely be more applicants than visas available. In past years there have been 2-3x the number of applicants, so applying timely and in the employee’s first year of eligibility is critical. Third, it’s not free. Unless you’re very experienced you will need legal counsel to prepare the visa, and there are filing fees of normally $1,075-1,825. Fourth, the application process takes time and there are several steps. The process should begin no later than March 1. 


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