Many noncitizens desire to work in the United States. However, navigating the complex visa system can be challenging.
There are many issues faced by applicants seeking employment-based immigrant visas. See below for six common work visa issues.
1. Long processing times
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) often experiences significant backlogs, leading to long processing times for visa petitions. This can frustrate prospective employees and employers, as it may delay or disrupt their plans.
2. Annual caps on visas
The number of employment-based visas has an annual cap. Some categories, like H-1B visas for specialty occupations, are highly competitive. According to the USCIS, the cap is 65,000 for H-1B visas.
3. Prevailing wage issues
Employers sponsoring foreign workers must pay a prevailing wage to ensure they do not undercut local workers’ salaries. However, determining the appropriate compensation can be confusing, and discrepancies may lead to visa denials or delays.
4. Strict eligibility requirements
Each visa classification has specific eligibility criteria, such as education, skills and work experience. These stringent requirements make it difficult for some applicants to qualify for a visa.
5. Changing or adjusting status
Individuals already in the US on a nonimmigrant visa that does not provide employment authorization may need to change their status or modify it to permanent residency. This process can be cumbersome and may require additional petitions or applications.
6. Compliance with terms and conditions
Applicants must adhere to the requirements of their employment authorization and the duration of their admission to the US. Violating these conditions could result in removal from the country or denial of re-entry.
While the US offers various employment opportunities for noncitizens, navigating the visa system can be complex and challenging. By being aware of these common issues, prospective employees and employers can better plan and prepare for a successful visa application process.