Are you an H1B visa holder working in the United States? Immigration lawyer Marina Shepelsky is here to provide you with valuable insights into your rights, options for obtaining a green card, and what your employer cannot do to you legally. In this blog post, we’ll break down the key points and offer a comprehensive overview of the rights of H1-B visa holders in the USA.
Rights of H1-B Visa Holders 📋🇺🇸:
Fair Wages and Benefits 💰🏥:
- H1-B visa holders must be paid the actual wage, which should be on par with what the employer pays their U.S. employees in similar roles.
- Even during non-productive periods, where you may not have a project, your employer is obligated to continue paying you.
- You should receive the same fringe benefits as your U.S. colleagues, including paid time off, insurance, and vacation time.
Prohibited Expenses ❌💸:
- Employers cannot make H1-B visa holders pay for filing fees, advertising fees, or financial penalties related to leaving employment.
- The employer is responsible for covering business expenses such as legal fees for H1-B visa petitions.
Switching Employers 🔄👥:
- H1-B visa holders have the right to switch to another employer, but the new employer should file for a transfer.
- The new employer cannot force you to pay for the H1-B transfer process or any related legal fees.
Employment Conditions 🏢👨💼
- Equal Working Conditions 📋✅:
- H1-B visa holders should have working conditions identical to those provided to U.S. workers in similar roles.
- Documentation 🗂️📄:
- Employers must provide a copy of the entire file. This includes: including Labor Condition Application (LCA), USCIS paperwork, and approval notices, to H1-B visa holders.
- Both the employer and the visa holder must maintain records of hours worked, W-2s received, and payments made.
- Reporting Violations 🚫📢:
- Employers are prohibited from intimidating, threatening, blacklisting, or terminating H1-B visa holders. Employees are not accountable for disclosing information or reporting violations of H1-B conditions.
Other Options (PERM) 🌟🗳️:
After working on an H1-B visa for six years, your employer can file for PERM (Permanent Labor Certification) without labor certification. The Department of Labor (DOL) issues a permanent labor certification. This enables an employer to hire a foreign worker for permanent employment in the United States. You can also have any employer file for PERM at any time, but it would require labor certification.
Extraordinary Ability-Based Green Card 🌟🌟:
- Have you achieved exceptional success in your field? You may be eligible for an extraordinary or exceptional ability-based work green card.
- You may be eligible to self-sponsor yourself for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver Green Card or even an EB-1. Note that EB-1 is highly selective.
Understanding the rights of H1B visa holders in the USA and potential pathways to a green card is crucial. It will guide you to a successful and secure career in the U.S. We hope this blog post has helped clarify your rights and options as an H1-B visa holder. Share this valuable information with your friends and family, and stay tuned for more informative content.