Corporate Immigration: News on posting employees to USA in H-1B status.

 The initial registration for the annual H-1B visa lottery for specialty occupations runs from March 1-17.

Corporate Immigration: News zur Entsendung von Mitarbeitern in die USA in H-1B Status.

The United States government is heavily subsidizing investment in the USA via the Inflation Reduction Act. This is also encouraging German companies to increasingly consider overseas locations. Companies intending to send highly specialized experts to the USA as of October 1, and which cannot apply for an E or L visa, need to hurry to enter into the annual H-1B lottery in time.

What is an H-1B visa?

Employees with highly specialized skills can apply for a temporary work visa which permits them to work in the USA for up to six years. The H-1B visa is employment-based. This means that U.S. employers are required to support the foreign applicant and file the application with the immigration authorities. The H-1B visa is only issued for specialty occupations which require specialized knowledge and skills as well as at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific field. The other prerequisites are as follows: The U.S. employer pays the H-1B employee the same or a higher wage than employees in similar occupations in the geographic area in which the job is offered. This comparative wage is calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor. The employer must bear all of the fees and costs for this visa category.

Only the winners of the March 1-17 lottery may apply for H-1B visas

65,000 new H-1B visas are issued for every fiscal year, which begins on October 1 for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The immigration authority will hold the annual electronic lottery for 2023/2024 on March 1-17 and only lottery winners will be entitled to file a current H-1B application. The electronic process will be similar to previous years. Only the prospective U.S. employer is permitted to submit the application. The fee for the lottery is currently 10 US dollars and will increase to 215 US dollars as of 2024.

Beyond the cap of 65,000 new H-1B visas for graduates with bachelor’s degrees, there are various exemptions including an additional 20,000 visas for applicants who have received a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. university or college. It is important to note that the applicant must have received their master’s degree or higher before submitting the visa application.

Labor, tax, and social security law pitfalls

When assignments last longer than three months, HR also has to address the labor law, tax, and social security consequences within the deadlines.

The U.S. government’s Inflation Reduction Act currently offers highly attractive opportunities for German companies to invest and produce overseas. Companies often have to post highly qualified specialists to the USA to carry out projects of this nature. If the assignment is scheduled to begin this fall or during the first nine months of 2024, time is running out to participate in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ electronic lottery on March 1-17 for H-1B visas.