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How can H-3 Trainee Visa Support Temporary Foreign Workers?

By January 24, 2023Immigration
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The H-3 trainee visa could be a convenient and versatile vehicle for temporary work arrangements for a foreign worker who can be characterized as an entry-level associate, such as an intern, that primarily receives supervision, education, and hands-on professional training at a company while doing a small percentage of productive work.

Is there any quota or limitation for H-3 trainee applications?

Unlike the H-1B, there is no annual quota for H-3 trainee workers and a petition can be submitted at any time of the year.

Are there any minimum educational requirements for the H-3 trainee visa?

A unique advantage of the H-3 trainee visa is that there is no minimum educational degree required of the beneficiary.

How can you qualify for the H-3 trainee visa?

Each petition must submit evidence that meets the following four criteria:

  • The proposed training must not be available in the beneficiary’s home country.
  • The beneficiary will not be placed in a position that is in the normal operation of the business in which US citizen and resident workers are regularly employed.
  • The arrangement should not involve the beneficiary doing productive employment “unless it is incidental and necessary to the training”;
  • The training will benefit the beneficiary in pursuing a career outside the U.S.

It is important to note the H-3 trainee visa is not intended to allow employers to recruit and train foreign workers for the ultimate purpose of staffing them for domestic operations in the United States. A major part of an H-3 trainee visa application is establishing the ultimate purpose as to prepare the beneficiary in pursuing a career in their home country.

What kind of documents or information should an H-3 trainee visa application provide?

  • Specific information on the type of training/supervision to be given, and structure of the training program.
  • Monthly and weekly plans, curriculum, training materials that will be used in the program.
  • Information on the instructors and training premises.
  • Specify the proportion of time that will be allocated to productive work, which should be “minimal.”
  • Specify number of classroom instruction hours, which should be high as possible.
  • Specify number of hours of on-the-job training (supervised and unsupervised). Unsupervised work should be “minimal.”
  • The position and duties for which the training will prepare the H-3 beneficiary.
  • How the program will prepare the H-3 beneficiary for work that is not available in or new to their home country.
  • Reasons why the H-3 beneficiary cannot obtain the training in their home country.
  • Reasons why the training program benefits the petitioning company.
  • The source of remuneration provided to the trainee.

How long can an H-3 trainee visa be granted for?

The maximum duration that can be granted for the H-3 trainee visa is 2 years; in practice, programs are often around 12 months in length.

What is the application procedure and timing?

Unlike the H-1B, there is no annual quota of the number of H-3 trainee visas available each year. Because of this, an employer may file a petition by filing the Form I-129 at any time with USCIS. The petition may include multiple beneficiaries. Premium processing is available; if opted for, USCIS will take action within 15 calendar days.

This relative flexibility with regards to timing of filing, and the speed with which the results can be obtained, can make the H-3 trainee visa a convenient option if the facts align with the requirements.

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