Hiring H-1B Workers
H-1B temporary worker visa status is used for employment in specialty occupations. A specialty occupation is defined as a position that requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field and theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in order to perform the job duties. Jobs that require any Bachelor’s degree do not qualify.
The H-1B Visa is employer and- job-specific and requires an employer to file applications with the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to sponsor an employee. This visa allows for an individual to work for up to six years.
The entire H-1 process can take six months or more to complete. Therefore, please allow ample processing time.
University H-1B Sponsorship Policy
Georgetown University sponsors certain faculty, researchers, and specialized staff for H-1B Temporary Worker status. The following criteria must be met for an individual to be sponsored:
- The position must require at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field and specialized training or knowledge, and the employee must meet the minimum requirement at the time of application. Positions which require any Bachelor’s degree or no degree at all do not qualify.
- The position cannot be a temporary position. The benefits offered to employees in H-1B status must be the same as those offered to other employees in similar positions.
- The position must be full-time. Exception: Part-time positions that are paid hourly do qualify for sponsorship if the employee works at least 20 hours per week. Salaried part-time positions (including adjunct faculty) do not qualify for sponsorship due to the requirement to keep track of the actual number of hours worked each week.
- The Department must cover all USCIS fees relating to the application. Exception: If the request for premium processing is for the employee’s personal reasons, the premium processing fee can be paid by the employee.
- The approval of the Department Chair, supervisor and Department Administrator must be obtained. Although general information may be discussed beforehand, the Office of Global Services (OGS) will not initiate Georgetown-sponsored H-1B applications until approval is received from the Department.
- The Department agrees to pay the reasonable costs of the foreign national’s return transportation to their home country should the Department terminate their employment before the expiration of the employment approved by USCIS.
Please note that Human Resources and/or Faculty policies with regard to employment apply, and nothing in this policy implies otherwise.
All paperwork related to Georgetown-sponsored H-1B petitions must be filed by OGS to ensure accuracy and consistency of University information that is sent to the U.S. government. Use of outside attorneys is not permitted.
Initiating Sponsorship Procedures
The hiring Department and the employee each complete portions of the request, and the H-1B Request Form (PDF) must come from the hiring Department to OGS.
The Sponsorship Process
There are three steps in applying for H-1B temporary worker status.
OGS files a request with DoL to determine the prevailing wage for the position. The salary offered must meet this prevailing wage to qualify for H-1B sponsorship. If the wage offered does not meet the prevailing wage, OGS will be in touch with the Department to discuss options.
OGS files a Labor Condition Application with DoL certifying the working conditions. Processing takes 7 business days.
OGS files an I-129 petition with USCIS. Regular processing at USCIS is taking 8.5 to 11 months (January 2019). USCIS often experiences delays and processing can take more than 6 months, even though an employer can only file the H-1B petition 6 months before the requested start date. Premium processing shortens this processing to 15 days for an extra fee. USCIS has become increasingly strict with its interpretation of specialty occupation as it relates to staff H-1B petitions due to President Trump’s Buy America Hire American Executive Order. A Request for Evidence from USCIS will delay processing, so please allow plenty of time for processing or consider using Premium Processing.
This information is intended to provide basic, general information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice from qualified immigration specialists.