Here is another edition of “Dear Sophie”, the advice column that answers questions related to immigration on working in technology companies.
“Your questions are essential to spreading the knowledge that enables people around the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, immigration lawyer in Silicon Valley. “Whether you’re in People Operations, a Founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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Help! Our startup needs to hire 50 engineers in artificial intelligence and related fields as soon as possible. Which visa and green card options are the fastest to obtain for top immigrant engineers?
And will Biden’s new immigration bill help us?
– Hypnotized at Menlo Park
I get this question quite frequently now, as more and more startups with recent funding rounds are looking to grow quickly. In the last episode of my podcast, I discuss some of the fastest visa categories startups need to consider when they need to add talent quickly.
As always, I suggest consulting an immigration lawyer who can help you quickly strategize and implement an effective and profitable hiring and immigration plan. An immigration lawyer will also be notified of any changes in immigration policy and plans if the Biden administration’s 2021 U.S. Citizenship Act is passed. It was introduced in the House and the Senate this month.
This bill would allow more international talent to come to the United States for jobs and eliminate visa backlogs related to employment, among other things. Given the substantial benefits of the legislation available to employers, I encourage your startup – and other businesses – to let Congress officials know that you support them.
Since most U.S. embassies and consulates have limited capacity for routine visa and green card processing due to the pandemic, it’s usually faster to hire U.S. and international workers already in the U.S. Although the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is experiencing significant delays in processing cases due to the coronavirus, as well as an increase in applications, Premium processing is currently available for most related petitions to work. We are still able to help many people make US visa appointments at consulates abroad using a variety of national interest strategies.
With all of that in mind, here are the visa categories that offer the fastest way to hire international talent.
Hiring individuals by transferring their H-1B to your startup can be completed in a matter of months with premium treatment. Premium processing is an optional service that, for a fee, ensures that USCIS will process the request within 15 calendar days.
Plus, H-1B assignees can start working for your startup even before USCIS has issued a receipt or made a decision in the case. You just need to make sure that USCIS received the petition, which is why I always recommend sending all packages to USCIS with tracking.
Premium processing can help get a digital receipt as paper receipts are often late. I stopped suggesting this route during the Trump administration, but I feel more comfortable offering it as an option under the Biden administration. The H-1B is the only type of visa that allows someone to start working upon filing a transfer request.