Hiring a Singaporean or Chilean national has many advantages over hiring other foreign nationals. On January 1, 2004, the US Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the US Chile Free Trade Agreement created the H-1B1 non-immigrant visa only for Singaporean and Chilean nationals. Although there is a numerical limit on the number of H-1B1 visas each year, the quota has never been met. Find out why you should consider hiring Singaporean or Chilean nationals under the H-1B1 visa program.
What is the H-1B1 Visa?
The free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore include the H-1B1 visa that allows for the temporary entry of certain professionals for nonimmigrant business purposes.
Is there a numerical limit or lottery for H-1B1 visas?
Although there is a numerical limit on the number of H-1B1 visas that can be issued each year, the limit has never been reached. Unlike the H-1B visa, the H-1B1 Visa is not subject to an annual lottery.
What are the advantages of hiring a Singaporean or Chilean national on an H-1B1 visa?
As a US employer you should consider hiring Singaporean or Chilean nationals under the H-1B1 visa program for several reasons:
- No Lottery – Unlike the H-1B Visa where you must obtain a visa through an annual lottery, although the H-1B1 has numerical limits the limits have never been met. This means you can use the program year-round.
- Quick Approval – Approval is not required in advance. Singaporean or Chilean nationals can apply for an H-1B1 visa direct at their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Unlimited Renewals – H-1B1 Visa status can be issued in 18-month terms and is renewable indefinitely. Unlike the H-1B visa which carries a 6-year limit, there is no limit to the number of renewals or time you can work on an H-1B1 visa as long the employee can demonstrate their intent to return to their foreign residence at the end of their temporary US employment.
- Automatic Extension – As long as an extension of status is filed in a timely manner, authorization to work is automatically extended for 240 days past the I-94 expiration or until USCIS makes a decision on the case. This allows the worker to remain inside the US during the extension process without interruption in employment.
- US Permanent Residence (Green Card) – Similar to the H-1B visa, a Singaporean or Chilean national can go from an H-1B1-1 Visa to US permanent residence (Green Card) if properly executed.
- Low Cost – Filing fees are nominal and the $500 Fraud Prevention Fee for employers is waived.
- Can Change Employers – If the potential employee is already inside the US, they can change employers while remaining inside the US through USCIS Form I-129 Petition for Foreign Worker.
- Exempt Chilean Professionals – Chileans who are offered positions as an Agricultural Manager or Physical Therapist, or Singaporeans and Chileans offered positions as a Management Consultant or Disaster Relief Claims Adjusters are exempt from the bachelor’s degree requirement.
What are the requirements for an H-1B1 Visa?
If you plan on hiring a Singaporean and Chilean national under the H-1B1 visa program, the employee and position must meet the following requirements:
- Citizenship – Be a citizen of Chile or Singapore.
- Labor Condition Application – A Certified Labor Conditions Application (LCA), from the US Department of Labor.
- Specialty Occupation – The position must be considered a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, the attainment of which is generally gained through a bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent, in the specific specialty, as a minimum for entry into the occupation.
- Academic Qualifications – The potential employee must have earned a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, involving at least four years of study in the field of specialization.
- US Employer – You must be a US employer.
- Temporary Employment – The position offered must be a temporary position.
How do we apply for an H-1B1 Visa?
There are two ways to apply for an H-1B1 Visa. This depends on whether the potential employee is already inside the United States or will be coming over directly from Chile or Singapore. The options include:
- Outside the USA – The employee can apply for the H-1B1 visa directly at their US Embassy or Consulate.
- Inside the USA – If the potential employee is already in the United States in legal status, you are able to file directly with USICS through Form I-129 Petition for Foreign Worker.
Can you go from an H-1B1 visa to a Green Card?
Although an H-1B1 visa does not carry “immigrant intent”, it is possible to sponsor an employee for permanent residence (a green card). Carefully planning is required when pursuing a green card while on H-1B1 visa status.
What about the spouse and Children of H1B1 Visa Holders?
The spouse and children under 21 of H-1B1 visa holders are eligible for H-4 dependant visas. Although the H-4 visa grants the ability to live in the USA, H-4 holders are generally not eligible for work authorization.
If you are a US employer looking to fill a specialty occupation with a Chilean or Singaporean national, you should consider the H-1B1 visa program as both a short and long-term solution.
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