Community Topic: Remote Work and H1-B

Question: Our company is moving to remote work. Can I still hire foreign talent with an H1-B visa?

Since the onset of COVID-19, many companies have adapted where possible and moved over to a remote work structure. This experiment proved quite effective for many companies, including technology companies. As you may know, tech companies are a big proponent and recipient of H1-B talent. So, what does remote work mean for this type of visa? If a person can remote work, do they even need to be in the United States? 

The answer is yes, you can still bring foreign talent to the United States. While some companies are moving to permanent work from home/remote functionality, there are still some key reasons that a remote employee would need to be in the same country, or time zone, or city as a company HQ. Here are some example scenarios to consider that would help support why a remote worker would still need to be reasonably close to their employer:

  • A remote computer systems architect would benefit from being in the same country as a hiring company, in the interest of maintaining security of servers, clouds, and other digital entities.
  • A remote high-level specialty professor would benefit from being in the US to be in the same city as the university they work for, to periodically visit their office, maintain student files and other documents that are housed at the university, and other authorizations requiring proof of identity.
  • A scientist or engineer who could be on a remote or partially remote schedule would still need to have access to labs (on staggered schedules or other safety protocols), requiring their presence in the same city as the employer.
  • A database administrator could do a large amount of their job as remote, or maybe even all of it in some circumstances. However, if anything were to happen to a company’s database or server, they would need to live in close proximity to get to the physical hardware in an emergency. 

While these are only a few examples of how remote job titles can still qualify for H1-B applicants. Keep in mind that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about a variety of questions and situations that we are navigating for the first time. A remote job still has the ability to be a highly qualified specialty occupation, and the right immigration attorney can help you organize a compelling case for the H1-B application process. 

If you are interested in speaking with an experienced H1-B attorney about your unique company or scenario, we are here to provide guidance. Click here to contact an H1-B attorney

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