The H-1B status is reserved for Temporary Professional Employees who occupy a “Specialty Occupation.” A Specialty Occupation is defined by federal law as a position that requires the minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in a specialized area of knowledge. In order to receive an approval for an H-1B petition, we must establish to the satisfaction of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the position requires the minimum of Bachelor’s Degree in a Specialized Area of Knowledge and that the individual for whom we are petitioning to fill the position possesses the minimum requirements for the job. If the Job Description in Jefferson’s Department of Human Resources does not require a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree under Educational/Training Requirements, the Office of International Affairs (OIA) cannot file an H-1B petition for this position. This applies even if the prospective employee has a Bachelor’s degree related to the position. Consequently, the H-1B status is not suitable for Staff Nurses, Research Technicians C and B, or certain technologist positions. If you have any questions concerning this requirement or wish to explore alternative methods of employment for these positions, please feel to contact us.
Procedures for H-1B Applications
All H-1B petitions for Jefferson employees are processed by the Office of International Affairs (OIA) at Thomas Jefferson University. Jefferson does not permit outside attorneys to process H-1B petitions for Jefferson employees.
For H-1B candidates who are currently in the F-1 or J-1 status in the U.S., please refer to the OIA Policy on visa sponsorship for guidance and procedures.
Information for H-1B Applications
H-1B status is a non-immigrant status and is available for a period of six years. Petitions can only be done for a maximum of three years at any one time. However, if an employee is dismissed from employment before the end of the period of approved stay, the employer (in this case, the hiring department) is responsible for paying the reasonable cost of return transportation to the employee’s country of nationality or last permanent residence. Please keep this in mind when determining the length of time you request for the H-1B petition.
Another important component of the H-1B status is the requirement to establish the appropriate wage. We cannot proceed with the H-1B application until it has been determined that the individual is being paid the “required wage.” Based on your department’s responses to the required H-1B Labor Condition Questionnaire and Declaration Form: OIA will determine the appropriate wage for the position using the Department of Labor guidelines. If the department is unable to offer the required wage, Jefferson cannot file the H-1B petition.
In March of 2005, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services established a $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee. This fee must be paid by the Department petitioning for individuals already employed by TJUH, TJU or JUP in a status other than H-1B (for example: J-1 or F-1 OPT), for an employee who is not in the US, or to transfer an individual’s H-1B sponsorship from another institution to TJUH, TJU, or JUP. This also applies to employees who are transferring from one Jefferson entity to another (for example from TJUH to TJU). The filing fee for any the H-1B petition is currently $325. This fee applies to H-1B extensions, amended petitions, transfers of sponsorship, changes of status, etc. The filing fee is also the responsibility of the hiring department. Individuals who are applying for H-4 dependents will also need to pay an additional fee. Information concerning the H-4 application is available at OIA. The department is not responsible for fees involving H-4 applications.
Processing times vary depending on the type of petition: change of status, extension of stay with Jefferson, or transfer of an H-1B worker from another institution to Jefferson. Also, at certain times of the year, demand for H-1Bs is very high. This slows the processing times for H-1B petitions at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to several months.
There are many factors involved in determining when a Jefferson-sponsored
H-1B employee may legally begin work at Jefferson. You will need to discuss the desired start date for an incoming H-1B worker with OIA. It is often difficult to guarantee an exact start date. H-1B workers may not begin employment at Jefferson until cleared for employment by the Office of International Affairs.