H1B visa residency, transition to employment

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Giovanotto

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Hi there,

I was wondering what everyone's experience was in continuing their H1B visa status after residency. I am currently under this visa for residency, and was hoping to hear from others about how difficult it is to continue this visa after residency. From the current job search, most employers seem relatively uninformed about this visa but most have stated that they do sponsor the H1B. I am looking for work July 2024, and want to make sure I am not missing crucial details. Thank you.

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An H1b is a work visa and hence you should be able to transition to a job on it. But there is one huge caveat.

H1b visas are subject to an annual cap, for 2024 this was 85K. They received almost 800K applications, all on the first day. Hence, all available new H1b visas are gone within seconds. Non profits (and others) are exempt from the H1b cap -- so hospitals can usually get an H1b without a problem. If your H1b is "cap exempt", which it almost certainly is, then you can only move to another cap exempt employer. If you try to get a job with a private practice and they say they will get you an H, they will need to apply for a new H visa and deal with the cap.

If your new employer is cap exempt, then it's not difficut at all. It is a new visa -- H1b's are employer and position specific. So even if you stay at your same institution, they will need a new H visa. Just paperwork, should not be an issue.

A big topic you should absolutely discuss is sponsorship for a GC. The real magic of the H visa is that your employer can sponsor you for a GC. It's a long process, but (almost) guaranteed to work -- and your visa gets extended while the sponsorship process in pending. You should ask all employers what their policy on this is -- it;s completely optional for the employer (although if your H expires, then you need to leave). It can be expensive for them, Many empoyers want you to work for 1-2 years before they will consider sponsoring you. Once the sponsorship process is started, I believe you can leave that employer and the process continues (but definitely talk to a lawyer before doing that).
 
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An H1b is a work visa and hence you should be able to transition to a job on it. But there is one huge caveat.

H1b visas are subject to an annual cap, for 2024 this was 85K. They received almost 800K applications, all on the first day. Hence, all available new H1b visas are gone within seconds. Non profits (and others) are exempt from the H1b cap -- so hospitals can usually get an H1b without a problem. If your H1b is "cap exempt", which it almost certainly is, then you can only move to another cap exempt employer. If you try to get a job with a private practice and they say they will get you an H, they will need to apply for a new H visa and deal with the cap.

If your new employer is cap exempt, then it's not difficut at all. It is a new visa -- H1b's are employer and position specific. So even if you stay at your same institution, they will need a new H visa. Just paperwork, should not be an issue.

A big topic you should absolutely discuss is sponsorship for a GC. The real magic of the H visa is that your employer can sponsor you for a GC. It's a long process, but (almost) guaranteed to work -- and your visa gets extended while the sponsorship process in pending. You should ask all employers what their policy on this is -- it;s completely optional for the employer (although if your H expires, then you need to leave). It can be expensive for them, Many empoyers want you to work for 1-2 years before they will consider sponsoring you. Once the sponsorship process is started, I believe you can leave that employer and the process continues (but definitely talk to a lawyer before doing that).
Thank you so much for this. The problem I am facing is that I am trying to leave academia for a telemedicine job, and I am not quite sure if it qualifies as a cap exempt one. I will ask. I have been researching this and I figured that as physicians, all jobs would fall under H1B specialty occupation and therefore would be cap exempt, is this not so?
 
That is not my understanding. I am not a lawyer.

From the USCIS page:

H-1B Cap
The H-1B classification has an annual numerical limit (cap) of 65,000 new statuses/visas each fiscal year. An additional 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities, a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization, are not subject to this numerical cap.

I highly doubt that a private telemedicine group is a non profit. It's very easy to find out -- check out their webpage and see, or you can look up non profit's online. If they are not, you will almost certainly need a new capped H visa. And that is by no means a sure thing. Make sure these people know what they are talking about.
 
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H-1B Specialty Occupations
The occupation requires:
  • Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge; and
  • 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.
  • The position must also meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the particular position
  • The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.*
For you to qualify to perform services in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:
  • Hold a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be immediately engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, specialized training, and/or progressively responsible experience that is equivalent to the completion of a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.**
Source: H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models | USCIS
 
Those are simply the rules for getting an H1b. Everyone who is applying for one -- medicine, tech, etc -- has to have an advanced degree. This has nothing to do with the cap, which applies to all/most employers. It requires the emplyer file an LCA as part of the application.

If you scroll down on that page, you'll come to the part about the cap. I am virtually certain the cap applies to physicians. Just like it applies to tech workers.
 
Hi there,

I was wondering what everyone's experience was in continuing their H1B visa status after residency. I am currently under this visa for residency, and was hoping to hear from others about how difficult it is to continue this visa after residency. From the current job search, most employers seem relatively uninformed about this visa but most have stated that they do sponsor the H1B. I am looking for work July 2024, and want to make sure I am not missing crucial details. Thank you.

The job market will depend on lot of factors, particularly your specialty and geographic popularity. For example, big metro like NYC will be more difficult. H1b status will be more difficult than green card/citizen. And most centers which sponsors H1b would be non-profit hospitals, as many private practice is for-profit organization that is ineligible for cap-exempt H1b sponsorship ("cap-exempt H1b" dose not go through the lottery process, while the "cap-subject H1b" will need to go to a lottery process which is not worth even thinking about it at all). But overall, it is totally feasible to find jobs. FYI, I am now practicing in a major metro area while on H1b.

Try NOT to get J1 visa as possible, as this is significantly more difficult for job placement than H1b.
 
Hi there,

I was wondering what everyone's experience was in continuing their H1B visa status after residency. I am currently under this visa for residency, and was hoping to hear from others about how difficult it is to continue this visa after residency. From the current job search, most employers seem relatively uninformed about this visa but most have stated that they do sponsor the H1B. I am looking for work July 2024, and want to make sure I am not missing crucial details. Thank you.

You seem to be unfamiliar with H1b, even the basics. Immigration system in US is very complex but it is critical for your life if you want to stay here. Please try to collect as much information as possible, before you realize some day that you have missed certain crucial information that you have to leave the country right away (I am not scaring you. This is serious). For example, you can only be on H1b for a max of 6 years, unless you submit green card petition before the year 5 ends. And you need to learn yourself which pathway you are going to get the green card. No one will type a textbook for you on any forum.
 
I was offered a position with a for-profit company that is claiming that once you have a cap-exempt H1B, even if you apply to a for profit, that cap-exempt status holds (meaning that once you're cap-exempt, that status holds regardless of your future employer). They claim they have sponsored other applicants after residency in my position without going through the lottery with this explanation. They are placing me in contact with their employee attorney who helped them soon. I am waiting to hear back from my immigration attorney, but I think they're wrong, even though I obviously hope they're not as this is my top choice right now.
 
I was offered a position with a for-profit company that is claiming that once you have a cap-exempt H1B, even if you apply to a for profit, that cap-exempt status holds (meaning that once you're cap-exempt, that status holds regardless of your future employer). They claim they have sponsored other applicants after residency in my position without going through the lottery with this explanation. They are placing me in contact with their employee attorney who helped them soon. I am waiting to hear back from my immigration attorney, but I think they're wrong, even though I obviously hope they're not as this is my top choice right now.

I am not an attorney, but I am pretty sure this company is wrong. You can google the immigration laws and relevant information
 
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