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Are J-1 Trainee Visas Good Alternatives to H-1B?

Although the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes an effort to grant as many H-1B visas to highly skilled foreign workers as possible, the reality is that a great number of applicants are left out of the process due to the quotas established by lawmakers.

As the H-1B situation currently stands, a certain number of visas are made available each year. This number is known as the visa cap, which means that the USCIS will stop accepting applications as soon as the cap is reached. Employers who retain legal professionals to assist them with the H-1B filing process should be aware of two things: First of all, good timing is essential as the cap tends to be reached on the first day applications are accepted; second, there will always be a chance of an application not making the cut, which means that alternative options should be explored.

To a certain extent, employers can reach out to the available pool of H-1B candidates who are already in the U.S. This alternative is adequate insofar as the candidate being able to work as soon as the filing is entered. However, seasoned visa holders may choose to negotiate higher salaries. Another alternative in this regard would be to try to hire an overseas candidate who was a previous H-1B recipient, but who was not able to make the current cap. This would also require no more than six years lapsing after the most recent H-1B was approved.

If the two options above are not feasible for employers, the J-1 visa may be a good option. Although this visa is typically pursued by graduates of foreign medical schools seeking an internship in the U.S., it may also be approved for applicants interested in pursuing technical and business training in an American enterprise.

J-1 visa holders may sponsor their spouses and minor children to come to the U.S. Under some circumstances, the accompanying spouse may obtain a work permit and adjustment of status filings are allowed. These visas are generally approved for eighteen months, but waivers may be approved. It is important to remember that employers who sponsor J-1 candidates are expected to assume greater responsibility for the livelihoods of their applicants.

Individuals interested in learning more about the J-1 visa option should seek out professional help from a reputable San Diego immigration law firm like KS Visa Law. We offer free consultations and are happy to answer questions and discuss your options. Call us today at (858) 874-0711.

April 2024