Federal law provides for a certain number of temporary visas to be approved each year for employment in "specialty occupations." The requirements for the position are that:
- It must be one which requires at least a Bachelor's Degree in a specific field;
- The Department of Labor must recognize the position as a specialty position; and
- The university must pay at least the "prevailing wage" in the industry.
Provided the position satisfies these qualifications, the prospective faculty or staff must:
- Have the U.S. degree, or equivalent, necessary to satisfy the requirements; and
- Either be in the U.S. currently on a valid visa with the ability to change to an H-1B or be in a position to travel to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy outside the U.S. to receive the H-1B.
Employment authorization with an H-1B is contingent upon which employer sponsored the H-1B. In other words, an H-1B visa holder may work ONLY at JMU if JMU is the sponsoring employer on the underlying H-1B petition submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
The H-1B can be granted for an initial period of three years, followed by an extension of three years. In the meantime, the employee may choose to begin the process of applying for permanent residence (a green card) provided s/he is in a qualified position.
If a Department is interested in hiring international faculty or professional staff on an H-1B visa, the Background Form for H-1B's must be completed and returned to International Student and Scholar Services, MSC 5731, as soon as possible.