This visa category applies to a foreign national who wishes to perform services in a specialty occupation on a temporary basis. International teachers in the U.S. on a temporary employment usually have this visa. In order for a U.S. school employer to hire an international teacher with this visa program, the teacher must meet one of the following criteria:
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit of 65,000 visas each fiscal year, as mandated by Congress. In addition, 20,000 visas are separately reserved and provided for the foreign national applicants with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher.
Because it is a convenient benefit to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis, the H-1B visa is one of the U.S. visas most in demand with foreign professional workers. Such a great number of visa applications are filed in the first week of April of each year (the annual application time) that it results in filling the H-1B visa cap.
When the number of applications filed is greater than the numerical limit, the government agency in jurisdiction (USCIS) randomly selects, by its computerized “lottery” system, 65,000 applications submitted by regular applicants and additional 20,000 applications by advanced degree applicants.
Due to the numerical limitation and unpredictable outcome from the lottery system, some of U.S. employer schools seek special H-1B visas, exempt from the visa cap (discussed below).
Because the H-1B visa cap has been reached too soon in recent years, highly qualified foreign teachers often get disappointed by losing their opportunities to work in the U.S.
Therefore a significant number of U.S. schools are now seeking an exemption from the H-1B visa cap, which allows for the employer to hire a qualified foreign teacher anytime throughout the year since the school is thereby exempt from the numerical limitation and the annual application time (April each year).
There are 3 types of employer organizations that could seek the H-1B cap exempt work visa: (a) an accredited college or university, (b) a nonprofit organization affiliated with an accredited college or university, and (c) a nonprofit or government research organization.
Teachers Council has been successful cooperating with many schools in order to establish an H-1B exempt status to hire teachers, since most schools are public and, therefore, qualify as a nonprofit organization and have relationships with colleges and universities.