H-1B Visa Chat with Alfred from Scale LLP

by Adarsh Raj Bhatt in
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Photo credits: Unsplash

Immigrants are becoming highly significant in the US economy. They not only offer a more lasting solution to America's workforce demands, but they also assist American companies in fulfilling interim requirements. Maybe if there were sufficient visas, employers would be willing to employ more immigrants. H-1Bs, H-2As, and H-2Bs, which are job-based visas for temporary employees, are pretty popular. So much so that the authorities have been awarding documents in two of these programs through a lottery. H-1B visas, popular among technology professionals and other highly competent foreigners, have been oversubscribed for years. The gap is widening, with an annual cap of 85,000 additional H-1B visas.

This is why Hari Raghavan, CEO of AbstractOps, sat down with Alfred Bridi, an immigration lawyer at Scale LLP, to talk about the ins and outs of the H-1B visa application. Alfred proved to be a genial and deeply insightful conversationalist (armed with a Powerpoint!) who didn't pull back from sharing the nuances of H-1B immigration that he knew, from both his expertise and experience, would be of great benefit to startup founders and small business owners that are looking to learn more about this space.

Following is a transcript of the original conversation between Hari and Alfred, the video of which is linked above.

We put this together in a relatively short time frame because it sounds like the deadline for the H-1B process is coming up very soon, and we want to get more insight, help, etc., made available to clients and the public sooner rather than later. You could start with some background on yourself, and we can go from there. 

Alfred Bridi: Hi everyone, my name is Alfred. I am a counsel at Scale LLP, a 'tech-forward-tech-focused' law firm. We do several different law firm things, one of which is immigration. And that's kind of my wheelhouse. So I deal every day with the alphabet soup of visas in this country that range from the H-1B - one of the most popular and well-known visas - to everything from artist visas, asylum applications, marriage, green cards, etc. 

Immigration is really fun because it reflects real life, and because it reflects real life, it's also really complicated, technical, sometimes messy, and it changes all the time. It's very political. It's very subject to federal changes, and you guys obviously hear about it in the news. We have theaters such as the Southern border. Still, there's also this more technical and administrative side of immigration, such as employment-based immigration, which we're talking about today. 

The H-1B is a really great visa, so it's so sought after. It's actually limited in terms of the number available every year. It's so oversubscribed that there is a lottery that happens once a year. Our meeting today is because the lottery is fast approaching. In fact, registration for the lottery opened up yesterday. The lottery formally kicks off, or the application to put your hat in the ring starts on March 1st and runs until March 18th. 

[Grins] But don't worry, I have a Powerpoint so that everything will be fine. We'll go through this in a second, but I'm just giving you the overview, a lay of the land. 

It's a fantastic visa. Employers like it; employees like it. It gives workers a path to a green card, which is obviously not a small thing. I don't expect any US citizens to know much about immigration. So, for US citizens who haven't had to deal with it, a green card is the holy grail of the immigration pyramid. From there, it's effortless to get a passport. In legal terms, a green card is a legal, permanent residence, which makes more sense in some ways. It means you can stay and work in America freely or fairly freely and get most of the benefits accorded to US citizens.

So, all of this is just to say that immigration is really complicated. This (the H-1B) visa is excellent. There are some pretty unique things about it because it's so good and so sought after, and I'm going to walk you through it so that you guys understand what the H-1B even means because it just sounds like a Star Wars character [smiles]. Hopefully, by the end of this presentation, you guys will have a pretty structural view of the key elements and what you need to do with them. This is especially important for hiring managers because immigration rightfully is an annoyance in the hiring process for many people. And my job is obviously to make it as painless as possible. There is good news with this: I spend about ten months a year saying you've got to wait for the lottery next year, and now it's coming right up. So there isn't much waiting necessary anymore - which in immigration is kind of not something I say very often.

What happens before and after the H-1B? In other words, what are the conditions one satisfies to qualify for the H-1B? How long can you hold it? What happens after it? You already touched on the "after" part regarding the green card, so that's one from a high-level standpoint. What are the pros and cons for employers, the pains (or lack thereof) in using H-1Bs for your talent pool, and so on? 

Alfred Bridi: My presentation touched on this, but I'll answer the question directly here. The H-1B is a visa for specialty occupations. It's super well-suited for tech. Actually, let's first understand the need for a visa and a foreign national in the first place. We don't have to deal with this immigration "alphabet soup" for US nationals. Why are we going through webinars and the pain processes of immigration to bring in talent? Well, foreign talent is abundant. And a lot of these jobs need foreign talent. There aren't enough Americans to do these jobs. I have the statistics in my presentation, but if I'm not mistaken, there are around 1.5 million tech jobs or computer-related jobs in America as of December last year (2021). There are roles that HR needs to fill - and Americans don't always fill them. And the thing that I think is great about this is that we're bringing in top talent. These are people who are really technically qualified. The H-1B is a specialty occupation visa, which means that these people have some sort of specialization and require at least a bachelor's degree. So, they are super qualified people. So America decided that we want to bring in the best from outside to fill our local needs and ultimately profit our companies. So, everyone wins. I'll talk about the different scenarios or use-cases for this visa and what it leads to.

So, I think I'm just going to jump in. Firstly, a disclaimer without which no legal presentation would be complete: this is informational; this is not legal advice. Please seek legal advice when trying to understand immigration law very specifically. As I said, immigration law reflects real life, which is very case-by-case. So, this is a sort of thematic, broad structural overview, but this is not legal advice. Lastly, my email address is alfred@scalefirm(dot)com.

So, let's start with covering the basics. I'm going to use some technical words throughout the presentation. There are two types of visas in immigration. There are "temporary" and "permanent" visas. Those are called non-immigrant and immigrant visas. There is a distinction between "I can come to America for two years or three years to do one thing, or I can study for a specific number of years" and there's a "green card or permanent residence" where there is no sort of end date, you are a permanent resident until otherwise. In terms of jargon, there's a "visa," which we're talking about. That's kind of the real thing in your passport. And then there's something called "status," and status is the real key thing here because your status can change over time. And status is: "I am in H-1B status", or "I am in student status." That's kind of the thing that really determines your legality in the US. There are two broad categories of visas. One is employment-based, which we're going to be talking about today. And then there's family-based, which is the marriage green card or sponsoring of a cousin or a parent. I've already used the word "sponsor'," so the US immigration system works because a US person or company sponsors (usually) a foreign beneficiary. So, we have a US sponsor - this would be the employer in the case of the H-1B - sponsoring a foreign beneficiary, i.e., the person who benefits from the visa. The US agency deals with immigration (there are a few), but the key agency for the H-1B is the USCIS, which is the citizenship and immigration services. Because this is an employment-based visa, I will be talking about the department of labor (or DOL) a little bit at some time. Also, another term for application is "petition," so you know.

So, the H-1B: What is it? It is an employer-sponsored non-immigrant visa, a temporary visa sponsored by an employer. It's focused on work and business, and it allows foreign nationals to work in a specialized field/occupation for three years, renewable for up to a total of 6 years. That's very good. That's quite a big chunk of time. 

Is that six additional years or a total of six years?

Alfred Bridi: Total of 6 years. You start with 3, so it's eventually three plus three. There's an annual cap every fiscal year of 65,000 H-1Bs. And then there's an additional cap for people who have master's degrees of 20,000 H-1Bs. So, 85,000 H-1Bs every year. There's an annual lottery, which is why we're here. It takes place every March. I'll go through the dates in a minute. And if you're selected, you have 90 days to submit your application. The key thing here is that everything here is around the fiscal year. Something worth keeping in mind is if you get approved for the H-1B; in other words, if you get selected in the lottery and find out in the summer that you're in, it's all good. Then, the earliest you can start is the following October, October 1st. It's a fiscal year thing. So the clock will start as early as October 1st. 

Now, what are some scenarios that make sense for an H-1B? So let's say we have a young grad doing their OPT, which is effectively the Optional Practical Training. It's basically a work permit after studying at a US University or college. So, if you are working in a STEM field, a more scientific-technical field, you get two years after your graduation. If you're an English literature major and not necessarily a scientist or an engineer, you have one year, but you get a short runway to test the US labor market. And the idea here is that America wants to keep their new talents and their new trained brains. So if someone is ending their OPT (their work permit), or they've worked for you, and their visa or work permit is running out, then H-1B is a great option to keep them up.

What if you have someone who's already on a visa, but it's a kind of a short-term visa that has to either be renewed every year or doesn't lead to a green card? This (the H-1B) is a great visa to change them on to. What if you've been working with someone outside of America and want to bring them in, and you think they're great? Or you have a young person who's great but isn't quite someone with extraordinary ability as they haven't accumulated the number of years necessary for their professional background and everything? These are different use cases. 

So, why the H-1B? One, it has a high chance of approval. So if you make it through the lottery, it's wildly high (97% high, at least recently). So, it has a very high chance of approval. The requirement for what you need to get through the door is much less. Effectively, it's a bachelor's degree and a job that matches. For other visas, like the O-1, you need to have risen to the top of your field. For H-1B, you have up to six years in duration, which is a pretty big number, and you can change jobs. So, employees like that because you're not limited to one job. You actually can change, and it leads to a green card. So, these are all pretty great things. 

How does it work? I describe it to clients that in the H-1B, there is basically a triangle that we need to satisfy. And everything is linked to each piece. So, on the one hand, we have a specialty occupation, which is basically a technical job. Secondly, you have the candidate and their qualifications. So let's say you have a job as an engineer, like a software engineer. You need to ensure that the specialty occupation and the candidate's qualifications match. So, if I have a software engineer job and want to hire Joe Smith, but Joe went to culinary school and is a pastry chef, that doesn't really make sense, right? His resume doesn't match his qualifications. If you want to hire a graphic designer, but the person you're hiring is a particle physicist, then the resume and the qualifications don't match. You really want the specialty occupation and the candidate's qualifications to match. The third part of the triangle, or the third corner, is the prevailing wage. Now, what does this mean? I'm going to take a step back and just remind you guys that there are two forms of immigration in America: family-based and employment-based. It sounds weird to say, but the US immigration system is designed to protect Americans, always. American first, American first. So the idea with employment-based immigration is that American workers will not suffer. So, in this context, you need to pay what is called the "prevailing wage" to the foreign worker. This means that you need to pay at least what a normal American would pay an American in this job and this area. The point of this is that hiring a foreign national doesn't depreciate the average salary for that kind of job. So, if I hired 10 Swedes at half the rate of an American, then that job's salary will probably go down, and the American worker will lose their income. The idea here is that you need to pay what's normal for an American to be paid. So you don't pay foreigners a discount. Obviously, the employees love this because they get paid, at the very least, what's normal, which is great. But it keeps things fair and the playing field fair across the passport divide. So this is the triangle: specialty occupation, qualifications, prevailing wages. 

So what is a specialty occupation? It's some sort of expert knowledge in a specific field of study, and we need at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to the work. So, you could have a bachelor's in pastry-making from culinary school, but that won't get you an engineering job. It has to match. We normally need a bachelor's degree to be the entry-level requirement for that job. So, if you have a role that doesn't necessarily always need a bachelor's degree, that won't really fly. You could also argue that you usually need a bachelor's degree for this kind of job among comparable employers. Or you can show that "I have three of these jobs and I'm hiring, and I have multiple versions of engineers. And every engineering job that I have in my company needs a bachelor's degree. Here are the ads, the contract, here's everything". This is the basic idea: "specialty occupation" means something that needs at least a bachelor's degree. This could include everything from a data analyst to a video director to a quality engineer to an acupuncturist, an architect, a lawyer, an accountant, plus other specialty occupations. 

Some of the most important jobs for H-1B visas in 2021 were in tech. Tech plays a pretty big role here. Everything from a software engineer, developer, assistant professors, and architects sneaking in there but otherwise pretty dominant dominated by tech. 

An H-1B visa is valid for a single specific employer, right? There are some exceptions, but you need to work for an employer. And there needs to be an employer-employee relationship. This is really important for startups because I often get calls saying, "Hey, I want to sponsor myself for an H-1B". And I say, "That's not really how it works." Otherwise, everyone would be sponsoring themselves for an H-1B. You could set up an LLC, and you'd make it happen. Here, you need an employer-employee relationship. If you are a co-founder or have a stake in a company, that company would theoretically sponsor you. Still, the company needs to exert control over you. Effectively, or maybe crudely, that means they need to be able to fire you. You can do this in several different ways. I like to have the beneficiary usually, i.e., the foreign national who wants to be sponsored, have probably less than 50% stake in the company. You could have a board of directors. These are different mechanisms that show that there is a bit of a separation of entities in the company, then that's possible. But you need that employer-employee relationship and that control. Employers need to know that there are some regulatory requirements that you guys need to do. You need to pay the prevailing wages or whatever the actual wages for the job are. So, let's say you have three software engineers and hire a foreign one; the foreign one needs to be paid what the other ones are being paid. I've mentioned that already. You need to ensure the working conditions do not adversely affect similar workers. Again, this is about keeping the playing field level, not bringing the new foreign person, and depreciating how things are at your company. You need to provide notice. There are some technical, regulatory things. This is part of the lawyer's role. We'll guide you through everything so that you don't mess anything up. You need to have a public access folder in case you get audited. And in case you fire them, or somehow the employment gets terminated, you need to, by law, provide them a ticket back to their country.

So, the prevailing wage is that floor that we talked about. It's not some arbitrary number that I, Hari, or someone makes up. It's something that's usually based on Department of Labor statistics for employment - based on job title, based on the level of seniority, and based on the physical location. So, if I'm a software engineer in San Francisco, I will probably earn a different number than if I'm a software engineer in Topeka, Kansas. And that's a product of the markets and wages and economic factors. I think I've more or less paraphrased it, but a prevailing wage is the weighted average of wages paid to similarly employed workers in the same geographic area. So what we're going to do is look at the job. We would look at the job advertised - where do you want the person to work? Where would that person physically be working if it's a remote job? And we would tie that to this wage classification. So then we would find a number saying, "We need to pay at least this amount." And I use, again, Department of Labor statistics for this. 

I said there is a cap every year of 85,000 - 65,000 a year plus the master's cap of 20,000. So there are 85,000 H-1Bs in a year. Some jobs actually are exempt from the cap. These are pretty great jobs. They're not always applicable to conversations like this because they're for higher ed institutions, non-profits, research organizations, government research, etc. I just wanted to share that for completeness, just so you guys know. We said there are 85,000 H-1Bs in a fiscal year. Last year, almost 400,000 people applied. So, you can see the rates. There was a 97% approval rate for petitions selected in the lottery. Again, this is a specialty occupation. A lot of people are masters. These are pretty technical fields. It's a competitive field. There might be a lot of job openings, but there are a lot of qualified people. 64% of beneficiaries had a master's degree. Like I said at the top of the call, Hari asked a great question: What is the point of this? There's a lot of demand for these kinds of roles, and there's a lot of foreign talent. This is a good way to bridge the gap or help US companies bring in the world's best talents. A lot of these jobs are in tech. Tech obviously pays fairly well. The median annual compensation for H-1B is 101K, though that varies depending on the role. Statistics show that H-1B employers are also most likely to create jobs for Americans. People wanting to sponsor H-1Bs are also just creating jobs all over the place, just in case, people push back against employment-based immigration. 

I was a little shocked when I read about the fees for this. It ranges from, let's say, 5k on the low side to 30K on the high side. My firm certainly charges on the lower end of that scale, and it's very competitive in that. There are two sets of fees, I would say. One is government fees (government-filing fees or administrative fees), and then there are attorney fees to help you. 

So, how does this work? This is the lottery timeline. Yesterday (Feb 21, 2022), the electronic portal became active for employers to create accounts. If you guys are interested in doing this, you must contact me immediately, as the clock is ticking. We need to get you guys registered, we need to have you guys link your accounts to mine (if we work together) or another attorney's to get everything set up for the registration period or the lottery, which runs from March 1st to March 18th. These dates change every year. So, from March 1st to 18th, all the employers put their candidates in the ring. By March 31st, you'll receive your yay or nay from USCIS. Starting in April will be the earliest time a physical H-1B petition can be submitted. The latest time to apply is 90 days after you were selected for the lottery.

So, that's the timeline. This is possible. It is going to be a smooth strut to the finish line. This will be a bit of a race, but it's definitely possible. Again, these visas are great, and they're worth it. Frankly, the cost of the visa is fairly low for the caliber of candidates that often is hired and for the value created, obviously. What's interesting with this electronic lottery is that, at least in the past couple of years, there have been multiple electronic lotteries. So, what happens is that there's a cap of 85,000, so they send, more or less-ish, 85,000 approval messages saying, "Yes, you've been selected through the lottery." Not everyone applies. Not everyone makes it through the lottery. Some people aren't eligible. Some people's jobs don't make it. Not everyone makes it through, which means there will be some extras down the line, some crumbs that fall through. In the past couple of years, they've done that you could get approval later down the line if you haven't been rejected yet. It's pretty great. So, if some people don't apply or they miss their 90-day window or whatever happens, there is a chance that if you don't get the nod by the end of March, you could get kind of wait-listed later on in the summer, which is fantastic.

Premium processing exists. What is that? Immigration is a slow process. It is something that processing and governments plus processing don't always equal fast, efficient service. It's been in the news, but I have a stat on this that says there's a backlog of around 3 million applications - a huge backlog - in immigration. The processing time for an H-1B can be quite a few months. Premium processing is a great way to rush the processing at a relatively low cost. If you think of the median salary, it's just 2% of that to rush the processing, which means you get your answer within 15 days of submitting the petition. This is an optional fee. It goes straight to the government. For transparency, most clients opt to do premium processing because there's clarity, there's no waiting, and you can make decisions if things work out - or don't. 

So what do we need (we being similar attorneys and me) from you guys, the employers? We will need your EINs. And, if the Department hasn't approved them of Labor, that's something that the attorney would help you get done. We're going to need to work the job title. Again, if you think of the triangle, we need the job and the qualifications to align; we need that to make sense. So we're going to figure out the job title that fits with the right wage that fits with the right candidate and make sure that these three different points of the triangle sync up and make sense. That's something that the lawyers will work on with you. We'll be collecting company documents, we'll be collecting some marketing information, tax records, and we'll create a USCIS account for you. We need to do that, so immigration lawyers (like me) can represent you and help you through the process. As I said, there are two different fees. Government-filing fees range between $1760 - $2460 and attorney fees. Premium processing is also available, as mentioned. 

We'll need their resume, diplomas, and transcripts from the foreign national. Immigration is like an elephant. It remembers everything and wants to know everything every step of the way. So, every time a foreign national interacts with immigration, you should really have all of their histories. So, that's something that I always ask for. And because this visa needs a US bachelor's degree or equivalent, you need to show that if a foreign national has a foreign bachelor's degree, it's equivalent to a US bachelor's degree. And you get that through adequate education evaluations. 

So, I'm going to go through a couple of different letters of the alphabet soup here, just to give you an idea of related visas: 

  • H-1B for new employment (which is kind of what we're talking about here) 
  • H-1B for continuing employment (which is a kind of renewal)
  • H-1B transfer
  • H-4 dependent visas (which are for spouses and children)
  • H-1B1 fast track visas for Chile and Singapore
  • E-3: Australian citizens
  • O-1A Visa
  • L Visa
  • TN Visa

Very often, you can transfer an H-1B. So, as I mentioned at the beginning, that's one of the advantages. You can change employers on an H-1B. I've done that for AbstractOps before and for a number of different clients, and that's another option. So, let's say you don't get a candidate selected at the lottery, but a foreign national is on an H-1B or just gets an H-1B this year and starts with another employer, but then moves and would like to be hired by an AbstractOps client. Perfect. You can transfer that H-1B over to you guys (AbstractOps clients), which is pretty cool. 

If you're hiring someone from Chile or Singapore, the rules are particular because immigration is weird. There are a lot of trade treaties or bilateral agreements between the US and other countries. The next two are examples of them. So there was a trade accord between Chile and the US, and Singapore and the US, and they created the H-1B1, a great, fast-tracked, simplified H-1B. It's great. Suppose you have candidates who are Chilean or Singaporean, perfect. That simplifies the process—the same thing for Australians. There's a different letter (E-3), but it's a similar process to the H-1B, and it's somewhat simplified and another great option. 

If you don't get the H-1B, there are other options: this O-1 visa, which is this extraordinary ability visa. Again, it's a much higher bar to get. You have a lot of documentation to get approved, but it does get you a three-year renewable visa, which is great. There are L visas, wherein you can transfer people from outside, from the same company, but in a foreign country. So, let's say Amazon Luxembourg transfers to Amazon US. That's an example. There are some conditions there, like they have to work for that company for at least a year overseas to qualify. And then there's this kind of NAFTA visa, the TN visa, which works for Canadians and Mexicans. Again, these are good visas; some are hard visas, some are great. Not all of them offer all the things that the H-1B offers, which has a path to a green card, a pretty long duration, good runway, all of that - but they are all good options. 

As I said, premium processing is available and should definitely be considered. There are two different ways you can do that when you are processing. One is with foreign nationals in America, or people doing it outside through the consulates. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which I can talk through with you guys on a case-by-case basis. My advice is that if people are processing or pending their application for a green card, they probably should not travel. I would certainly advise them not to travel. COVID restrictions have been crazy, and it changes all the time. I don't want someone to get stuck outside. Also, there's a huge backlog at many embassies overseas. So that's something, ideally, to avoid. Something else that is subject to change and always changes: be mindful of the COVID travel requirements. Foreign nationals, or actually anyone entering, need proof of fully approved vaccinations and a negative COVID test, though there are some small exceptions. 

I will say here that the lawyer's role is to help you with electronic registration, with the Department of Labor application, the prevailing wage, make sure you cross all your T's and dot all your I-s, and basically guide you through the process. There are two big paths that you guys can take. One is to play the lottery and then see what happens. If you get selected, we move forward; if not, you don't have to pay for the petition because we haven't done it. We kind of take care of that first part. The second path is where we can create the full petition up front, whether you get selected or not. That is particularly useful if you're hiring someone from a student visa or their OPT. That's a sort of technicality, and it's pretty important. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

Are there different rates of getting approved or selected for the lottery depending on where you're coming from? So, are OPT candidates more or less likely to get selected in the lottery? 

Alfred Bridi: No. So, it doesn't matter where you're from. It doesn't matter. As long as you qualify and are selected, you should be looking good. So, you could say that it's a roughly 20% chance no matter what the context is, but at the same time, there is that master's cap, and you do have a slightly higher percentage of your candidate having a master's degree. This is a lot, by the way. I'm mindful that I don't expect anyone to grasp this right away fully. It's very technical and confusing, especially for people who have been fortunate enough not to deal with immigration in the past.

What are the common reasons for the H-1B transfer to be denied? 

Alfred Bridi: Well, again, it's that triangle, right? So if you are in H-1B status, you're approved for a specific role. I'll step back: what is an H-1B transfer? An H-1B transfer is what you would call a change of employer. Usually, it's some sort of thing that has changed significantly in your previous H-1B. So if you are a software engineer in San Francisco and you were approved to work, let's say, at IBM, and you get a job working at TransferWise or something, you would change employers. The thing that I would need to see, and the thing that could be tricky, is if the job is very different from the previous job. That's not necessarily a red flag, but it begs, "What's going on here? Why is this so different?" We would need to see that the qualifications match and that you are indeed specialized and able to do this job. We'd need all the company documents to be in order. Effectively, it's kind of reapplying for an H-1B, but you don't have to worry about the lottery and the cap. But, again, that triangle is really the thing that we need to be mindful of. For transfers, I think it's vital that the jobs are similar and the story can be consistent. That's a situation that I like.

So, regarding whether to do it in two sets or one step, in other words, preparing the whole application or just preparing the initial lottery submission, how long does it take to assemble and prepare the documentation for the petition process after the lottery? What is the reason to want to do both upfronts rather than chop them up into pieces?

Alfred Bridi: Great question! So, the first one is that it's just security; there's just the general thing of having everything ready to go. And if you're selected, you don't have to scramble and get everything together. Everything's kind of already set. So, there's that prudence, on the one hand. 

There is a particular and critical use case for making the upfront application, called the "cap-gap." This is, again, a peculiar term. As I said, a great use case for the H-1B is students. And as students, after you graduate, you're allowed either 12 or 24 months - depending on your degree - a sort of work authorization after your studies. Graduations usually happen in about May or June - and so if you think about 12 months after May or June, that expires kind of in the May or June of the next year. If you remember, an H-1B starts in the new fiscal year, October. So, what that means is that there's a gap in the middle between your work authorization or at the end of your OPT, i.e., the end of the period of your work and the beginning of the H-1B, which means that there's a gap in the middle and that's a problem. You can't work without authorization in America: that's a huge no-no. There is something called a "cap gap" to bridge this gap in the cap (the lottery cap); there is something called a "cap gap." And effectively, this is the kind of use case for making an upfront application. You can stay in America, working, uninterrupted if you submit your H-1B application before the end of your OPT or before your work authorization. And this is very important; when you study as a foreigner in America, you get 12 or 24 months to work in America. You also get a 60-day grace period after that work authorization or OPT. You need to apply before that grace period, so in the OPT. Suppose you submit your application before the grace period (and you should probably add premium processing so that the date works out) and are approved. In that case, you can continue uninterrupted on your H-1B, which is excellent. So that's a perfect use case, and that's something I would encourage employers to do if they're trying to hire someone who's wrapping up their OPT. 

Thank you. I appreciate you sharing the intricate nuances and tricky components of H-1B immigration with our audience. I'm looking forward to working together to support our clients and early-stage startups.

Thanks, Hari. And, to anyone who needs it, my email address is alfred@scalefirm(dot)com.

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