There’s been much talk about how the H1-B temporary work visas have been exhausted and are in great demand, etcetera. And that is true. There are only 65,000 allotted in a fiscal year — and those are usually spoken for in the first day or two when they are available (they are usually given out on a lottery basis because there are more applications than visas, sometimes 2 to 1).
However, for a certain nationals, there is good news. Especially for those who hail from Chile and Singapore. (More on Australia later). Of course, those who are being sponsored by institutions of higher learning, non-profits, and governmental research agencies or have an advanced degree never had to worry about not having a H1-B visa available for them in the first place.
Due to free trade agreements with each country, Chile and Singapore have their own allotment of H1Bs.
These are labeled H1-B1, which is different than a H1-B (no number after the B) and is for those engaged in specialized occupations.
For Chile, there are 1,400 H1-B1 visas set aside.
For Singapore, there are 5,400 H1-B1 visas set aside.
The amazing thing is the fact that these visas are not used up.
The requirements are mostly the same for the “regular” H1-Bs and the H1-B1s. However, there are some issues with the H1-B1s for Chile/Singapore:
1. One may apply directly to the consulate for the visa rather than await for USCIS approval.
2. The H1-B1s are usually issued for just a year versus three for the mainstream H1-B.
3. The Chile/Singapore H1-B1 do NOT allow for dual intent (this means that you are not permitted to seek permanent residency or a greencard later on, unlike the H1-B). However, one may always change from an H1-B1 to an H1-B later on.
4. H1-B1s allow Chilean physical therapists under its umbrella as well as both Singaporean and Chilean management consultants.
The H1-B1 is a useful way to think around the quota imposed limitations of the H1-B. Chile and Singapore may be two good spots to recruit to that.
And as for Australia, there is an E-3 category, which will be discussed another post, but it essentially works like an H1-B1 for specialized occupations.