The H-1B visa program allows foreign workers to temporarily hold employment in specialized fields within the United States. These work visas, petitioned for by employers in California and other states, can remain in effect for up to six years. There are certain requirements of eligibility for both the prospective employee and the employer filing the petition.
One of the things an employer petitioning for an H-1B visa must do is to sign a document attesting to the fact that the hired foreign worker will not diminish the quality of wages or workplace conditions for any U.S. citizen employees. As for the potential employee, he or she must hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent. The government sets a limit on the number of H-1B visas that may be issued every year.
In recent times, there have typically been approximately 65,000 H-1B visas granted each year. Another 20,000 foreign professional workers who have a Master’s or Doctorate degree were given additional visas. When the number of applications within the first five days of availability exceeds the cap for the number of available visas, a lottery is sometimes held, drawing from all applications received during that time.
There has been a certain amount of controversy regarding whether work visas such as those issued in the H-1B program drive down the wages of workers in the United States. Some say that the program actually has a positive effect on the overall wage conditions in the nation. Others purport that native-born workers suffer because H-1B workers typically earn higher wages. California workers who have questions or concerns regarding work visas or the H-1B program may address the issues with a legal professional who is experienced in the field of immigration and naturalization law.
Source: immigrationpolicy.org, “The H-1B Visa Program: A Primer on the Program and its Impact on Jobs, Wages, and the Economy”, Accessed on July 9, 2015