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What are the latest rules for H-1B visas?  – TechCrunch

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working in tech companies.

“Your questions are vital for disseminating the knowledge that enables people around the world to cross borders and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, immigration lawyer in Silicon Valley. “Whether you’re in people operations, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch + members have access to the weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use the promo code ALCORN to purchase a one or two year subscription at 50% off.

Dear Sophie,

I have always wanted to live and work in the United States. I applied for software engineer jobs in the US, and one company says if they hire me and get me an H-1B visa, the application fee and costs will be deducted from my paycheck. . Is this allowed?

Also, is it allowed that more than one company makes me participate in the H-1B lottery so that I have a better chance of being selected? Will companies find out?

– Motivated in Morocco

Dear motivated,

Thank you for asking your questions! This is a great time to seek employment opportunities with companies willing to sponsor potential candidates for the hiring of an H-1B. Most companies have started – or will begin soon – the process of identifying H-1B candidates. I recently delved into some of your questions and other dos and don’ts in a recent podcast on the H-1B lottery process, which begins in March.

As many startups face the Big Resignation by hiring talented professionals, such as software engineers, remotely using various global professional employers’ organizations (PEOs), your questions are common as the next season approaches. lottery.

For a startup, putting a candidate for the H-1B lottery can be a great way to support your talented team member as the number of H-1B registrants grows every year. Startups often eagerly support their team members through H-1B sponsorship to enable them to have a better life in the United States and increase their loyalty, as well as bring them to a more synchronous time zone to allow fluid collaboration.

Image credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

Who pays the fees and charges for H-1B?

According to federal regulations, an employer cannot collect H-1B fees and costs for “employer’s business expenses” from the recipient of the H-1B visa.

This means that the employer must pay the registration fee of $ 10 to register employees or potential employees in the lottery, attorney fees and costs related to the H-1B program, as well as the cost of preparation and filing an H-1B petition, including the request for working conditions. which is filed with the US Department of Labor. Other costs that an employer cannot pass on to an H-1B holder include the cost of tools and equipment, transportation costs necessary for the job, and living expenses while the employee is traveling. professional.

However, some costs and fees may be paid by the employee, or employers are allowed to pass certain fees and costs on to an employee. Examples of what employees are able to afford usually include translations of personal documents, visas for family members, and collective agreement fees, but this is definitely something you need to talk to your lawyer about. .

Keep in mind that a shortage of tech talent in the United States prompts many companies to go out of their way to attract and retain talent. Forward-thinking companies offer immigration as a perk, pay immigration-related costs and fees that they are not required to cover, and agree to sponsor new hires for a green card after a year or two d ‘use.

Make sure your H-1B sponsoring employer cares about both legal compliance and creating a welcoming work environment.

H-1B Lottery Registration

A business can only register an individual once a year for the H-1B Lottery. If a person is entered more than once in a lottery by the same company, that person will be removed from the lottery.

However, it is technically possible that more than one company will sign you up for the H-1B lottery each year. I understand your desire to increase your chances of being selected in the H-1B lottery. Keep in mind that you are legally allowed to receive a job offer from more than one company, but this can set off a red flag with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), who will want to make sure that the job postings are legitimate.

While every company that signs you up for the lottery may not know about other potential employers, I recommend that you approach the situation with integrity and transparency by communicating your approach to those potential employers while taking your reputation with you to Silicon Valley. .

In certain limited situations, an employer may receive limited damages from an H-1B beneficiary who leaves the employer before an agreed date depending on the damages and state law. If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend that you consult an immigration lawyer.

Alternatives to H-1B

If you are not selected for the lottery, several backup options are available to you, such as an H-1B visa exempt from the ceiling, an O-1A visa or even an E-2 visa if you feel like it and how to start your own business in the United States. I discuss these and other options in my podcast episode, “Selected or Not Selected in the H-1B Lottery, What Now?” “

Best wishes to you on your trip to the United States!

– Sophie

Have a question for Sophie? Request it here. We reserve the right to modify your submission for clarity and / or space.

The information provided in “Dear Sophie” is general information and not legal advice. For more information on “Dear Sophie” limits, please see our full disclaimer. You can contact Sophie directly at Alcorn Immigration Law.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Law for Tech Startups, is available on all major platforms. If you want to be invited, she accepts applications!

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