H1B Visa: What is a Specialty Occupation?

H-1B Visa for Specialty Occupations

What is a Specialty Occupation?

In determining whether an employer can hire a foreign national for temporary H-1B visa work, it is critical to determine whether the position qualifies as an H-1B visa “specialty occupation.”

A specialty occupation requires highly specialized knowledge and skills and a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent in a specific field of study.

This article provides guidance on what a specialty occupation is for H-1B visa purposes. It is assumed throughout this article that the beneficiary has a minimum of a qualifying baccalaureate degree in a required field.

If you need assistance with an H-1B visa, or an immigration issue that is beyond the scope of this guide, contact the business immigration lawyer at Porter Law Office, LLC in Columbus, Ohio today.

Specialty Occupation Defined

The Immigration and Nationality Act (the “INA”) defines specialty occupation as “an occupation that requires (a) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and (b) attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.” See INA § 214(i)(1).

The regulations at 8 CFR §214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A) set forth four factors that can be used to prove that an employer is hiring the foreign national into a “specialty occupation.” To qualify for the H1B visa, the job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  1. a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the position;
  2. the degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations;
  3. the employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
  4. the nature of the specific duties are so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.

There are numerous occupations that potentially qualify as specialty occupations. The employer must prove through objective evidence that the job offered falls within the statutory and regulatory definitions set forth above.

Occupations and H-1B Visa

Typical occupations qualifying for H1B visa status include professions, which are defined by INA §101(a)(32) to include architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academies, or seminaries.

Immigration Attorney Columbus, Ohio

H-1B Visa Representation

Porter Law Office, LLC has experience in securing H-1B visas. The federal immigration rules and regulations are complex. The Columbus, Ohio immigration lawyer at Porter Law Office, LLC assists employers in complying with the H-1B visa regulations. We can help your organization file H-1B visa petitions and remain in compliance. If your organization is considering sponsoring a foreign national on an H-1B visa, contact Columbus immigration lawyer Matthew R. Porter today to discuss your H-1B visa options.

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