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Alternatives to H-1B visas for foreign workers

Many South Carolina business owners likely applied for H-1B visas that were denied in 2015. Approximately 148,000 H-1B applications were turned down this year, leaving some businesses scrambling. There are several other types of employment visas that businesses may want to consider for their personnel.

The North American Free Trade Agreement provides one possible avenue for workers who are from either Canada or Mexico. Workers qualified under NAFTA to work in the U.S. can be given TN status for periods of up to three years at a time. These TN visas are renewable every three years. Canadians are able to apply at a port of entry, while Mexicans must apply for this status at a U.S. consulate.

For workers originating in a country with which the U.S. has a treaty, the E-1 and E-2 visa series may be additional avenues. The E-1 visa allows foreign nationals from a treaty company to enter the U.S. for the purpose of engaging in international trade. E-2 visas allow foreign investors who will be investing a sizable amount of capital in U.S. businesses to likewise enter the country. These visas are renewable every two years.

Two more types of employment immigration visas are available to workers from Australia, Chile and Singapore. Australians may secure an E-3 visa for entry to perform a specialized occupation. Those from Chile and Singapore may enter using an H-1B1 visa, which is also available for those who practice in specialized areas. Those who are interested in learning more about these alternatives to H-1B visas may want to seek the advice of an immigration and naturalization law attorney. Legal counsel may help their clients to identify the most appropriate alternatives.

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