Tuesday, December 4, 2012

An Overview of the Process to Hire Foreign Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Workers

In the push for comprehensive immigration reform, U.S. businesses are pressing for more visas for science, technology, engineering and math ("STEM") workers.  Even on the campaign trail, Governor Romney stated that every science and math student graduating from a U.S. institution should have a green card stapled to the diploma.

But how difficult is it to get a visa for a foreign STEM worker?  The fact is that the process is tedious.  Moreover, a foreign worker can wait years for a permanent residency visa to become available.

In the article linked here, I give an overview of the process of hiring a foreign STEM worker, both on a temporary visa and on a permanent residency visa.  The process takes planning, resources and effort.  Most STEM workers start off with an H-1B temporary visa for specialty workers.  Annual quotas are tight, and deadlines are important.

Hiring a foreign worker permanently requires an effort to show that there are no U.S. workers who are ready, willing, able, and available to fill the position.  This is called the labor certification process, and requires that the employer go through a recruiting process.

Even after a visa petition is granted, because of annual limits, it may take years for the visa to be available.  If a worker is employed through an H-1B visa, it takes coordination and timing to make sure that the worker can remain in the United States until the permanent residency visa is available.

By:  William J. Kovatch, Jr.
(703) 837-8832

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