Hiring O-1 Visa Workers to Solve Your Staffing Shortage

hire o-1 visa applicants

With the current staffing shortages faced in most businesses, especially service businesses, hiring O-1 visa workers may be the answer. For instance, on Christmas eve, one of the busiest travel days of the year, United and other airlines canceled over 2000 flights due to staffing shortages. Much of this was due to the spread of Covid-19 that sidelined workers infected or exposed to the virus but the great resignation stresses staffing levels for all kinds of businesses at all different levels from line workers to executives. Hiring O-1 visa workers might solve some of this shortage.

hire o-1 visa workers
Image courtesy of SHRM

Hiring O-1 Visa workers

O-1 visa workers are international workers given status to work in the US due to their skills and abilities, unlike farm workers who come from Mexico and South America to pick much of the food you eat every day on H2B visas or even professionals who obtain H1B visas. During the pandemic, former President Trump severely restricted the entrance of all these non-resident workers, a move that still faces challenges. Hiring O-1 visa workers is very restrictive, involving specific requirements, so let’s discuss how you can hire O-1 visa workers as staff shortages continue.

O-1 VISA petition requirements

The O-1 visa is categorized into two groups: O-1A categorizes individuals linked with sciences, athletics, and business; O-1B for artists. The requirement of an O-1 visa focuses on the “extraordinary ability” of workers whether it is category O-1A or O-1B but how “extraordinary ability” is defined is different for both categories

  1. Employer or Agent Sponsor. The applicant for an O-1 visa needs an employer or an agent to sponsor a worker after they sign a contract with the employer. Self-employed to O-1 Visa workers don’t meet current requirements nor may workers use the Visa while searching for a position.
  2. Advisory Opinion. When applying for an O-1 visa then workers are also required to add an advisory opinion from a business, consulting establishment, or well-reputed peer group. The advisory opinion must mention that the applicant has extraordinary ability. If you do not have access to a peer group, you would need to obtain strong and focused letters from an individual considered an expert in the particular field. The person from whom you get letters must already possess top-level recognition in the specific field. There is a different process for each organization for getting advisory opinions
  3. Extraordinary Ability. An applicant is considered eligible for an O-1 visa in case they have extraordinary abilities in the field of arts, sciences, or athletics.

 O-1A “extraordinary ability” criteria

The process to determine “extraordinary ability” for O-1 Visa eligibility is similar to the process used for EB-1A Visas, which are green cards issued to individuals with extraordinary ability. The applicant is required to show a major achievement such as an international award. In addition to this, the applicant must meet any of the below-mentioned criteria to be considered eligible for an O-1 visa.

  • Proof of achieving any awards of lower levels recognized nationally and internationally or exhibiting excellent skills in the field you applied for in the O-1 visa.
  • Proof  that the applicant is a member of an association of the mentioned field that requires its members to have  extraordinary achievements in the particular field
  • The applicant was included in published material in any professional or major business publications.
  • The applicant judged or reviewed the work of other members of the team, individually or along with a jury. This may include acting as a reviewer of other authors to assess articles for publications or research articles in the field.
  • The individual made major contributions in the field through scholarly work through any source.
  • Written and published research articles in the respective area under distinguished publication or has any other media published.
  • The applicant is currently hired for reputable organizations in an extraordinary capacity.
  • Is being paid significantly more for his work than others due to excellent services.

 O-1B “extraordinary ability” criteria

In the case of O-1 B, the extraordinary ability is known as “distinction” in the arts. Similar to O-1A, the extraordinary ability is depicted via proof of achievement such as the Academy Award, Emmy, Director’s Guild Award. Other than those awards, an applicant is considered eligible for a 0-1B visa if they meet any 3 of the following mentioned criteria.

  • You starred in productions that gained great fame as evidenced by customer feedback, advertising, publication of the productions, and contracts
  • The applicant took part in events organized by the establishments  that are well-reputed in the field that is evident from mentions in newspapers, business journals, publications regarding the organization and reviews
  • Applicants gained recognition at the national or international level for their achievements
  • Their record of service depicts them as having a successful career
  • They received any government recognition as a reward for their remarkable services as an artist

Learn more about O-1 Visas

Of course, I’m not an expert on work Visas or immigration. Instead, this information comes from published sources, including government requirements. In case you want to get more information regarding O-1 visa eligibility criteria to hire O-1 visa workers you must contact an experienced and professional O-1 immigration lawyer as the laws are very specific and the process somewhat unwieldy. If you’re an international worker seeking an O-1 Visa, you should also contact a lawyer as well as the HR department of businesses that might hire O-1 Visa workers as they must agree to sponsor your application.

Lawyers who specialize in immigration and Visa issues have years of experience dealing with cases of O-1 visas and know exactly what you and your firm must do to obtain successful results on your O-1 visa application.

Law firms not only give you O-1 visa legal support regarding your visa applications but they also help get you through the complete process from start to finish; from filling in the application form to submitting the evidence documents. Obtaining a positive result is challenging without an immigration lawyer to stay with you throughout the process and help you get things done in the right way. Don’t waste a moment now and get O-1 immigration lawyer services to get the results on your visa application that you desire.


A good immigration lawyer keeps their clients in the loop throughout the process and deals with each case according to its specific requirements as they understand that each individual faces different circumstances and cases involve unique aspects that make it impossible to use a cookie-cutter solution.

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