Breaking Down The O1 and H1B Visas With Startups in Mind

Published On: Nov 26th 2019

Hiring a foreign worker can be a great option for startup companies of all sizes. According to a Harvard Business School study immigrants have a disproportionately larger knack for entrepreneurship. Start-up employees must be comfortable with the unknown and be prepared to take on responsibility for any task that comes their way. This is the type of person that will succeed in a start-up environment.

This is where temporary american work visas come in. Startups can sponsor individual work visas in order to fill a specific professional need.

Below we breakdown both the H1B and O1 work visas.

The H1B Work Visa

We’ve dedicated two other blog posts to H1B work visa so we’ll just hit the major points here.

  • Ideal for startup tech companies
  • Approved visas last for three years before need for renewal
  • After holding the H1B for 6 years worker could become green card holders.
  • Only available to specially occupations. The positions most likely require a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • The employee who is to be hired with this visa must be paid at minimum the current prevailing wage that a non-immigrant worker would get paid.
  • There is a limit on the amount of H1B visas that can be approved each year. The annual limit is 85,000. This means there is no guarantee that your petition will be successful.

Learn more about the H1B visa by visiting our H1B visa FAQ blog post.

O-1 Visa

The O-1 Visa is for “persons with extraordinary ability” in a range of professional fields such as technology or business. Startups looking to hire a candidate under an O-1 visa will be under a higher level of scrutiny than that of a larger company.

A candidate can qualify for an O-1 visa by meeting three of the following 8 criteria:

Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor

· Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the field

· Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s work in the field for which classification is sought

· Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field

· Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought

· A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence

· Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought

· Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation

As you can see the O-1 visa is reserved for true academic or professional heavy weights. The unicorns among the slew of common candidates. If your start-up truly has a need however for such a person, petition for an O-1 visa is a wise path to take.

Get in touch with us today, If you’d like any part of the O-1 visa requirements clarified or just want to learn more.

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