Supporting Ukrainians with H-1Bs and beyond – TechCrunch

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Right here’s one other version of “Pricey Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at expertise firms.

“Your questions are important to the unfold of data that enables folks all around the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in folks ops, a founder or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to reply your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Pricey Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Pricey Sophie,

We’re a startup that at present has an worker, who’s initially from Ukraine, working for us on an H-1B visa. He’s making an attempt to get his mother and father out of Ukraine.

We additionally entered a potential Ukrainian worker who fled to Poland within the H-1B lottery, however he wasn’t chosen but.

How can we help them?

—United with Ukraine

Pricey United,

Thanks for supporting your workforce and their family members, not simply as staff, however as people. When groups (and folks) are coping with adversity corresponding to this, the range that may be fostered by immigration builds resilience. Resilience, caring and play are keys to thriving in conditions which can be risky, unsure, advanced and ambiguous.

Check out the sources and data in my earlier column about how one can assist Ukrainians, corresponding to helping with journey preparations and the A26 Backpack, which permits college students and professionals affected by conflict to maintain paperwork safe and accessible. If they will, I like to recommend that everybody have onerous copies of necessary paperwork, even expired passports, in case mobile phone and pc batteries fail. NAFSA: Affiliation of Worldwide Educators additionally affords an inventory of immigration sources aimed primarily at Ukrainian college students however comprises useful info for all Ukrainians.

As all the time, I like to recommend consulting with an immigration lawyer who can devise methods and backup plans primarily based on the distinctive background and circumstances of your worker, potential worker and their households.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a brand new window)

Your worker’s mother and father

Your organization can contemplate paying for journey prices and any authorized charges related along with your worker’s efforts to assist their mother and father get to the U.S.

Nevertheless, your worker ought to remember the fact that a customer visa is probably not a viable choice proper now. As is the case with most different nonimmigrant visas, each the B-1 customer visa for enterprise and the B-2 customer visa for pleasure require demonstrating to immigration officers that you don’t intend to stay completely in america and you’ve got a house and a life to return to in your house nation.

Only some nonimmigrant visas help you have twin intent, which suggests you propose to use for everlasting residency (a inexperienced card) in america. Solely the E-2 treaty visa, H-1B specialty occupation visa, L-1 intracompany transferee visa and O-1A extraordinary potential visa enable their holders to have twin intent — and all of those work visas require an employer to sponsor them.

Relying on the schooling, abilities and expertise of your worker’s mother and father, your organization might sponsor both guardian for a piece visa, such because the H-1B, if eligible. If your organization did register them for the H-1B lottery earlier than the registration interval closed on March 18, 2022, your organization also can contemplate a cap-exempt H-1B place at a college or analysis establishment that’s exempt from the H-1B lottery or by a concurrent, cap-exempt H-1B with the assistance of a company like Open Avenues Basis, a nonprofit I’ve collaborated with to assist many consumers and startups.

Open Avenues Basis companions with schools and universities to create H-1B positions for worldwide professionals in STEM and enterprise fields to guide college students in experiential studying tasks for about 5 hours per week. As soon as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers approves this cap-exempt H-1B, a non-public employer can be eligible to sponsor that particular person for an H-1B with out going by the annual H-1B lottery course of. Check out this earlier Pricey Sophie column for extra info.

Your worker’s mother and father might additionally contemplate registering this fall for the fiscal 12 months 2024 Variety Immigrant Visa Program, which is also called the annual inexperienced card lottery. Yearly, the U.S. Division of State units apart 50,000 inexperienced playing cards for immigrants from international locations with low ranges of U.S. immigration. Every year, the State Division publishes directions for making use of, which incorporates international locations whose natives are eligible. In earlier years, people from Ukraine have been eligible. Listed below are the directions for the fiscal 12 months 2023 in English and Ukrainian.

A a lot longer-term answer — this may take a number of years — is that if your worker turns into a U.S. citizen and sponsors their mother and father for inexperienced playing cards. If your organization hasn’t already executed so, contemplate supporting your worker by sponsoring them for a inexperienced card, corresponding to an EB-1A extraordinary potential inexperienced card, EB-2 NIW (Nationwide Curiosity Waiver) inexperienced card or a PERM inexperienced card. Your worker can apply for U.S. citizenship after three years with a marriage-based inexperienced card or 5 years with all different inexperienced playing cards.

Your potential worker

In your firm’s potential worker, contemplate serving to him get to a protected location overseas and utilizing a worldwide payroll supplier to briefly make use of him there as a contractor even forward of the H-1B lottery and petitioning course of.

If he isn’t chosen within the H-1B lottery, listed here are just a few options to think about:

  • A cap-exempt H-1B that I discussed above.
  • A J-1 academic and cultural trade visa for specialists, a program administered by the U.S. Division of State that requires working with a sponsor group.
  • The O-1A visa for extraordinary potential has qualifying necessities which can be extra stringent than for the H-1B, however current adjustments have made it simpler for STEM graduates, significantly these with a Ph.D., to qualify.
  • The range visa program talked about above.

Thanks once more for reaching out to me along with your questions and for supporting your staff utilizing the instruments of U.S. immigration.

All my greatest,


Have a query for Sophie? Ask it right here. We reserve the fitting to edit your submission for readability and/or house.

The data offered in “Pricey Sophie” is normal info and never authorized recommendation. For extra info on the restrictions of “Pricey Sophie,” please view our full disclaimer. “Pricey Sophie” is a federally registered trademark. You may contact Sophie immediately at Alcorn Immigration Legislation.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Legislation for Tech Startups, is out there on all main platforms. In the event you’d wish to be a visitor, she’s accepting purposes!

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