The H-1B visa category is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined as an occupation which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree for the specific specialization (or its equivalent in experience).
The Department of Labor (DOL) is involved with the H-1B visa application and employers bear a certain liability when filing H-1B petitions. Employers must make attestations about the wages for H-1B positions and they must guarantee the return fare home if an H-1B’s employment is terminated before the end of the period of authorized stay. Willful violation of the regulations can result in Washington University in St. Louis being fined and prevented from filing H-1B petitions for one year.
WashU will only sponsor those who have a position as an employee. This means the university will not sponsor an H-1B for the postdoctoral research scholar or postdoctoral fellow title. Only individuals appointed as postdoctoral research associates (employee title) qualify for H-1B status. Those who are in a Clinical Fellow role type must have an employee title. Currently, the title of “Clinical Fellow Associate” is being used. If the physician will be moonlighting, then an appointment as an Instructor must also be approved and the H application will need to be filed with a joint title of “Clinical Fellow Associate/Instructor.”
Applications for H-1B status at WashU are handled internally after being initiated by the hiring department. Approval is generally required by the department’s business manager. The university does not allow employees to hire their own attorney to file an H-1B petition.