Dear Sophie: With the H-1B lottery looming, how should we approach overseas hiring? – TechMac

Dear Sophie: Will the H-1B lottery be based on the highest wages? – TechCrunch

Sophie Alcorn

Sophie Alcorn is the founding father of Alcorn Immigration Legislation in Silicon Valley and 2019 World Legislation Specialists Awards’ “Legislation Agency of the Yr in California for Entrepreneur Immigration Providers.” She connects individuals with the companies and alternatives that develop their lives.

Extra posts by this contributor

​​Right here’s one other version of “Expensive Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at expertise corporations.

“Your questions are important to the unfold of information that permits individuals everywhere in the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in individuals ops, a founder or in search of a job in Silicon Valley, I’d like to reply your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechMac+ members obtain entry to weekly “Expensive Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Expensive Sophie,

We’re an early-stage startup that — like many different corporations — is dealing with a big problem in relation to recruiting expertise. We now have not posted job openings internationally, however we’ve acquired some purposes from worldwide expertise.

That is all new territory for us. What’s your recommendation for hiring internationally? Additionally, I do know the H-1B lottery is quick approaching.

Are you able to clarify a bit extra about this course of?

— Keen Early-Stage Startup

Expensive Keen,

Sure, the H-1B lottery is quick approaching! The interval for registering H-1B candidates opens in March; there are a couple of steps corporations must take earlier than then if they’ve by no means earlier than participated within the H-1B lottery course of. First, you should definitely create an account with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers (USCIS), which conducts the lottery. Given this timeline, your organization ought to decide as quickly as potential whether or not the positions you wish to fill and the potential worldwide expertise you wish to rent would qualify for an H-1B specialty occupation visa.

Try my column in TechMac+ final week for extra specifics on the lottery course of. To bypass the H-1B lottery — or if a candidate will not be chosen within the lottery — your organization may take into account getting a cap-exempt H-1B for the candidate. Transferring a person’s H-1B to your startup can also be an possibility. To search out out extra about that course of, check out this Expensive Sophie column.

A futurist lens on worldwide hires

I not too long ago had a captivating dialog with Jamais Cascio, a futurist and distinguished fellow on the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto. Cascio has some fantastic perception related to your query.

The inhabitants within the U.S. is getting older and the start price is declining; as such, we are going to more and more must look to immigration to maintain our financial system going. Cascio discusses three mindsets for coping with radical adjustments on this chaotic world to stay robust as an organization and succeed into the long run. This recommendation is very relevant to corporations corresponding to yours as you embark on an effort to rent from overseas.

The three mindsets that Cashio stated would profit corporations are:

  • Resilience: Having the ability to stand up to a shock to the system with out breaking. For instance, he stated corporations which have just-in-time supply fashions are very brittle and inclined to interrupt down in contrast to people who have built-in slack into their system. Constructing in slack usually requires further sources and diminished effectivity and revenue however provides built-in resilience.
  • Improvisation: Stay artistic and nimble and be able to embrace change.
  • Empathy: Most likely essentially the most crucial of the three, this includes recognizing the humanity in others and what we do issues to others now and sooner or later. (I liked listening to that the position of the center is and will probably be crucial for enterprise success!)

Embracing these mindsets whereas growing an immigration technique that gives stability for worldwide expertise will probably be key to attracting and retaining expertise and creating an organization tradition that fosters innovation and endurance. Hearken to my podcast, “Suggestions for Corporations to Assist Valued People,” during which I focus on this in additional element.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a brand new window)

Particular visas to think about

Earlier than we dive into visa specifics, please bear in mind that I like to recommend you seek the advice of an skilled immigration lawyer, who can assist you devise an immigration technique for potential worldwide hires, in addition to present steerage on what visas could be acceptable given the job opening and potential candidate. Check out a earlier Expensive Sophie column during which I provide an outline on immigration-related issues you need to concentrate on in case your startup doesn’t but have somebody dealing with HR.

O-1A visa

In case your potential hires don’t make it by the H-1B lottery course of I discussed above, or you must get them right here extra shortly than October and you may’t take the danger that they won’t be chosen within the H-1B lottery this yr, a terrific possibility is the O-1A extraordinary capacity visa. Increasingly more of our startup shoppers are opting to pursue it for key executives and particular person contributors with area of interest experience. Whereas the bar for qualifying for the O-1A is way increased than for the H-1B, the method for getting an O-1A is way faster. And the O-1A doesn’t have an annual cap or lottery course of to deal with.

Visas for expertise from particular international locations

Particular visas exist for expertise from Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Singapore.

If the job candidate is an Australian nationwide, an E-3 visa will enable that particular person to work within the U.S. in a specialty occupation, similar to an H-1B. E-3 visas additionally require the sponsoring employer to file a Labor Situation Utility with the U.S. Division of Labor, as is required with H-1B petitions. A most of 10,500 E-3 visas is offered every year.

Is the job candidate a Chilean or Singaporean nationwide? If that’s the case, the candidate could qualify for an H-1B1 specialty occupation visa, which is an H-1B visa earmarked for residents of Chile and Singapore. Because of particular treaties the U.S. has with these two international locations, professionals could qualify to obtain H-1B1 visas on a fast-track foundation. Every year, 1,400 H-1B1 visas are reserved for Chileans and 5,400 are reserved for Singaporeans — and infrequently are these visas fully exhausted.

Professionals from Canada and Mexico can come to the U.S. to work below a TN visa, which was born out of commerce treaties between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. TN visas are restricted to professions listed in treaty agreements, however most of those jobs overlap with H-1B specialty occupations.

Some excellent news: Via the tip of 2022, consular officers can now waive the in-person interview requirement for some people in search of some nonimmigrant (momentary) visas, together with H-1Bs and O-1s. People who’re making use of for a visa of their nation or nationality of residence could have the interview waived if any of the next apply:

  • Beforehand issued any kind of visa.
  • By no means been refused a visa except it was overcome or waived.
  • No ineligibility.
  • Residents or nationals of a rustic that participates within the Visa Waiver Program.

Wishing you each success!


Have a query for Sophie? Ask it right here. We reserve the precise to edit your submission for readability and/or area.

The knowledge supplied in “Expensive Sophie” is basic info and never authorized recommendation. For extra info on the restrictions of “Expensive Sophie,” please view our full disclaimer. You may contact Sophie immediately at Alcorn Immigration Legislation.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Legislation for Tech Startups, is offered on all main platforms. Should you’d wish to be a visitor, she’s accepting purposes!


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