Temporary work in the USA
Millions of people around the world wish to pursue the “American dream” and work in the USA but anyone who plans to travel to America for work must hold a visa that grants them the right to do so. There are many US visas that can be used for work, the right one for you depends on the type of work that you will be doing and how long you plan to be in the country for.
If you plan to work temporarily in the USA, there are a number of visas that may be suitable for you. The US nonimmigrant visas are temporary visas, their validity ranges from 3 months up to 10 years depending on the type of visa. Many nonimmigrant visas allow you to live and work in the USA, the H1B visa is suitable for long-term work whilst the H2B is suitable for short-term work. There are also other visas that can be used for specific types of temporary work, such as the J-1 Visa.
The H2B Visa
The H2B Visa is the most common US work visa for temporary workers. This permit allows US companies to hire non-agricultural foreign workers for temporary jobs. The visa can be used for a multitude of job roles in sectors such as hospitality, construction and retail. However, the role must be temporary, to meet this requirement one of the following must apply to the job:
- There is an intermittent need for the job, meaning that there are not full-time workers available to perform it
- The role is a one-time occurrence. This means the company has never employed workers for a similar service in the past, and will not need to again in the future.
- There is a seasonal need. In this circumstance, the duration of your job cannot be subject to change and can’t coincide with the vacation period of other permanent employees.
To be eligible for this work visa you must have received a formal job offer from a US based company. Your company must then file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf.
It’s worth noting that only a limited number of H2B Visas are awarded every year. Usually, the USCIS sets a limit of around 66,000 H2B Visas per year, and half of these holders must enter the USA in the first half of the year.
The H-2A Program
If you plan to take on a temporary job in the USA within the agricultural sector, then you could be eligible for the H-2A nonimmigrant visa. The H-2A Program allows US companies to hire foreign employees to fill temporary agricultural roles. To be eligible to apply for this visa on behalf of an overseas national, they must meet certain requirements. During the application process the company will need to:
- Offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature.
- Demonstrate that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Show that employing H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Submit a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor with the H-2A petition.
Usually, USCIS grant H-2A classification for up to the period authorized on the temporary labor certification but this can be extended in 1 year increments. The longest period of time you can spend in the USA under this visa type is 3 years. You can also only hold this visa if you are from one of the eligible countries.
The J-1 Visa for Cultural Exchange Visitors
Another form a nonimmigrant visa that can be used for some temporary work and travel purposes is the J-1 Visa for Cultural Exchange Visitors.
The J-1 Visa is a type of Student visa but it can be used by young foreigners to teach and receive training in the USA as well as study. The program was created to promote cultural exchange as well as allow young people to enhance their English language skills, build new skills and obtain medical or business training.
There are fifteen different categories of exchange programs under the J-1 category that include various occupational roles, study opportunities and training programs, the main J-1 Visa categories include:
- Au pair
- Camp Counselor
- Teaching and teacher training
- Summer Work Travel program
- Internship and trainee programs
- Programs for students
Whilst in the USA on a J-1 Visa, you can only work if the role is one of the activities listed on your Form DS-2019, you cannot seek any other type of employment whilst in the USA.
How can IAS help?
Although IAS is a UK based immigration law firm, we also have a number of lawyers based in the USA who specialise in US immigration law. The US immigration system is complex, but our lawyers can help you to navigate it.
If you wish to move to the USA to work, our lawyers can help you to find the right visa. They will discuss your circumstances with you and assess your eligibility for the various US work visas. Once you have chosen the visa that you would like to apply for, our lawyers can also be there throughout the visa application process. We offer a number of services to assist you with this.
US work visa applications can be complicated, usually you will need your employer to submit a petition for your entry to the US and you may then be required to make a visa application yourself. Our lawyers can work together with you and your employers to ensure that you visa application is completed to the highest standard.
Whether you currently live in the US, or are based abroad, our US lawyers will be able to help. We have offices located across the USA, but we also offer all of our services remotely.
For more information about our US services, book in for your free consultation today by using the online contact form on our website or by calling 0333 305 9375.
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