H-1B Alternatives for Workers in the Biotechnology and Healthcare Industries

H-1B Alternatives for Workers in the Biotechnology and Healthcare Industries
December 14, 2022

The H-1B visa is popular among employers looking to hire foreign workers. This visa allows employers to fill jobs in a specialty occupation requiring specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree. However, H-1B visas typically have an annual cap, and the demand for these visas is greater than the number available. Therefore, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) holds a lottery each year to select the applicants who may file an H-1B petition.

Unfortunately, the high demand for these visas means many applicants do not get selected. In such cases, their employers must decide what to do next. Fortunately, several alternatives to H-1B visas are available for employers in the biotechnology and healthcare industries. Here are a few of these alternatives.

TN Visa

These visas are only available to citizens of Mexico and Canada, but they do not have a quota. Individuals looking for specific occupations in the biotechnology and healthcare industries can apply for this visa. Occupations include registered nurses, pharmacologists, medical lab technologists, teaching or research physicians, epidemiologists, and pharmacists.

H-1B1 Visa and E-3 Visa

H-1B1 visas are available to citizens of Singapore and Chile, and E-3 Visas are available to citizens of Australia. These visas are for professional positions and have educational requirements similar to those of the H-1B. However, many people in the biotechnology and healthcare industries have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. Therefore, these visas are an excellent alternative to the H-1B visa for workers in these industries from Singapore, Australia, or Chile. Furthermore, though these visas have a quota, the demand has never reached it.

Schedule A Immigrant Petition

A Schedule A immigrant petition is a green card-based petition, not a temporary work visa. However, it is helpful for employers trying to employ nurses ineligible for a TN visa or H-1B sponsorship. The Schedule A process does not require employers to complete the usual labor market test mandated for many green card-based positions. This exception is because of the shortage of nurses but not a way to hire someone immediately. Instead, it is a way of hiring a nurse outside the country within one to two years. Schedule A also has a green card process for physical therapists.

Final Thoughts

An H-1B visa is one of the most popular choices for obtaining foreign workers for specialty occupations. However, there are options if you need workers for positions in the healthcare or biotechnology industry and cannot get an H-1B visa or if your candidate does not have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.

Remember to complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process when hiring a new employee. Unfortunately, this process often proves difficult for foreign workers due to the many documents they may present. The best way to ensure you complete Form I-9 correctly is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide you through the process and safely store the form for easy retrieval.

Interested in automating your employment eligibility verification? Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.