What counts as a specialty occupation for the H-1B visa?

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2024 | Immigration |

The H-1B visa is a popular work visa for foreign nationals seeking employment in the United States. To qualify for an H-1B visa, applicants must demonstrate their intent to work in a “specialty occupation.”

For those considering immigration through the H-1B route, the biggest question is likely to be which jobs count as a specialty occupation.

Defining specialty occupation

A specialty occupation is one that requires specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field. The occupation must entail that the expertise gained through a degree is essential for performing the job duties. Examples of specialty occupations include roles in fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as professions like medicine, law or accounting.

Complexity of the position

The complexity of the job is a central factor in determining whether it qualifies as a specialty occupation. Jobs that require a high level of expertise and skills beyond the basic level are more likely to be specialty occupations. The complexity ensures that the position is not easily replaceable by someone without the required specialized knowledge.

Ongoing changes and updates

It is important to note that the list of specialty occupations can evolve over time. Technological advancements and changes in industry trends can lead to the emergence of new specialties. Employers and applicants should stay informed about updates to ensure compliance with current regulations.

Data shows that there were 410,195 H-1B recipients in 2022. This is a notable increase over the number of recipients from the previous two years. With many individuals qualifying for H-1B visas, there remains a healthy number of opportunities for potential immigrants looking to pursue specialty occupations abroad.