The shortage of healthcare professionals in Texas often presents an opportunity for foreign-born individuals with specialized skills. U.S. immigration law provides several options that might allow you to obtain temporary work status or permanent residence in the United States.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, H-1B visas are for foreign nationals with skills in a specialty occupation and a job offer from a U.S. employer.
Healthcare workers who seek a temporary or permanent residence visa must meet minimum requirements for education, licensure, training, and experience. They must also have proficiency in English. The occupations that qualify for H-1B visas include the following:
- Register nurses
- Physical therapists
- Speech pathologists
- Medical technologists
A potential employer must demonstrate that your position is in a specialty occupation and sponsor you. As a result, the job must meet specific requirements.
The USCIS uses four components when determining if you qualify for an H-1B visa. You must have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Depending on the specialty, you may need additional certifications, as well. According to the requirements, the education and duties you perform are among those that the employer typically requires when hiring any staff in this position.
The petition for a visa involves a two-step process. An employer must file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf. The USCIS review the eligibility requirements and your education. Next, it evaluates the employer’s ability to pay you the same as U.S. citizens it employs in similar positions. The requirements may vary somewhat based on your specialty.
For the second step, you must complete Form I-485, I-129 or I-129CW, depending on your location at the time of the petition submission and your status. Understanding the different programs for foreign nationals can help you determine the best option for remaining in the United States.