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Sample interview questions for H-1B visa
Dr Arun Vakil
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December 05, 2007

This week, we first introduced the H-1B visa and then examined it in finer detail.

Today, we'll look at your H-1B interview, and how you can best prepare yourself for it.

The following are some questions you should be prepared to answer irrespective of whether you are going to the consulate for a fresh H-1B visa or an H-1B renewal.  These are suggestive and not all-inclusive.

1)      What does your US Company do?
2)      What will be your job duties in the US Company?
3)      How many employees does the US Company have?
4)      What is the annual turnover of the US Company?
5)      Show US company brochure and photographs, if you have
6)      Where will you be working in the US?
7)      What computer languages do you know? (Information Technology professionals are often asked this question)
8)      What computer languages are you currently using in your company?
9)      How long have you worked with your current employer?
10)  What is your current salary?
11)  Have you ever been in a 'no-job no-salary' kind of situation?
12)  What is your role in the current company?
13)  Which university in the US did you study in? (This is in case you have a degree from the US)
14)  What is your highest degree?
15)  Where will you be staying in the US?
16)  How long do you plan to stay in the US?
17)  Which state do you live in the US? What's your opinion about the state?
18)  Have you paid for your H-1B visa?

Dealing with changes in job location
Roving H-1B employees require special attention and analysis. If an employer sends an H-1B worker to a new worksite, not listed on the Labor Condition Application (LCA), the employer must act to maintain compliance with the regulations.  The regulations include a detailed definition of 'place of employment' which governs what an employer must do to maintain LCA compliance.

The definition creates several exceptions that are not considered new places of employment, such as places where an H-1B may travel temporarily for developmental activity or to receive training. If there is no new 'place of employment,' then the employer's LCA obligations remain fixed at the home base.

The first question to ask is whether the roving H-1B employee is going to a new 'place of employment' or 'worksite'. If the answer is 'yes', then the employer must do one of the following: 

~ Re-post (if the new worksite is within the area of intended employment). In this case, the employer must re-post notice of the LCA at the new worksite before the H-1B begins work there;
~ Use the short-term placement rules; or
~ File a new LCA for the new worksite

The regulations define a new type of H-1B employee whose work is 'peripatetic' or roaming in nature in that the normal duties of the occupation require frequent travel. Peripatetic workers may travel constantly, but may not spend more than five days in one place. For such peripatetic workers, a new location is not considered a new 'worksite', and therefore does not require a new LCA.

Similarly, H-1B workers who travel occasionally on a casual short-term basis (not exceeding ten days) to a new location are not considered to have a new worksite with new LCA requirements. Although in these cases, the employer is not required to take one of the three steps above to maintain compliance, the employer is required to pay travel expenses for each day the H-1B is traveling (both weekdays and weekends).

The short-term placement rules permit an H-1B to travel up to 30 or 60 days per year to another 'place of employment'. However, the employer may not use the short-term placement rules in any area of employment for which the employer has a certified LCA for the occupational classification. If the employer has such a certified LCA with an open slot, then the employer must use that and add a copy of that LCA to the employee's public access file. If the employer has a certified LCA, but it doesn't have any open slots, then the employer must file a new LCA. The regulations specifically prohibit employers from continuously rotating H-1B employees to short-term placements in a manner that would defeat the stated purpose of these rules. The rules are designed to give employers flexibility.

H-1 visas issued by US Embassy/Consulates to Indians in India

US Fiscal YearNo. of H-1B issued





Future scenario of H-1B visa

The US Department of Labor predicts 130,000 new information technology jobs each year for the next decade. Yet American colleges are producing only 25,000 graduates in computer science a year, 40 per cent fewer than in the 1980s, and only 20,000 electrical engineering graduates, one-third fewer than a decade ago.

Although many high-tech jobs do not require such degrees, the decline in computer and engineering degrees can only aggravate whatever shortage exists.

Estimates put the number of information technology jobs going unfilled in the United States at more than 350,000, and rising fast. The Department of Labor projects that the demand for computer systems' analysts, engineers, and scientists will double in less than a decade, from 1.5 million to more than 3 million. 

Many of the skilled trades are currently facing a shortage of workers and the number of people needed to fill these jobs is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years. Construction laborers, operating engineers, carpenters, iron workers, cement masons, bricklayers, truck drivers and many other construction related crafts are among the trades expected to see the greatest demand in workers over the next 6 years.

While immigrants are less than 10 per cent of the US population, they comprise 30 per cent of research and development scientists and engineers with PhDs. More than one-third of the engineers in Silicon Valley are foreign born.

Anti-immigrant groups in the US have so far, successfully disallowed reforms proposed by Pro-immigrant lobby consisting of US high-tech industry and several senators and congressmen.  The reforms related to increase in quota for H-1B and decrease on restrictions on H-1B visas.  

Though the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill has failed in the US Senate, certain stand-alone issues such as H-1B visa may get attention in future months as hoped by pro-immigrant groups and US business which is keen to ensure competitive edge of American in world economy.

Part I: 
What you need to know about H-1B visas
Part II: Do you qualify for an H-1B visa? 

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