2017 is finally here, and it promises to be a year full of changes in the H1B visa program. But that does not mean that you don’t have a chance to work in the US if that is your dream, and this season’s visa rules are still the same.
These 2017 new year’s resolutions should give you the best possible chance of obtaining a non-immigrant work visa in your profession. The key is keeping your job search broad and having multiple options for a sponsored position.
Focus your job search on companies that are hiring workers directly, and avoid outsourcing firms.
While outsourcing firms currently take the majority of H1B visas, there are real advantages of finding work with firms that will employ you directly for their business. You avoid the potential for being contracted out part-time, being ‘benched’, and not being paid your full wage once in the US.
Apply for positions that exactly match your education and experience, and don’t ‘reach’ for jobs that are similar or seem easier to land.
In an effort to get a job, some foreign workers will apply for positions that are only loosely related to their core skills and experience. The degree and work experience must correspond to the job, and is one key requirement for approval of an H1B visa. It will be checked by both the USCIS and the consulate officer during your interview.
Apply for more than one job opening, and don’t rely on assurance that you are the leading candidate.
It makes sense to have more than one option for an H1B visa sponsor, and there is no rule against seeking positions with several US companies and then taking the best offer. Until you have a firm employment agreement, there is the risk that you might not get your first choice, and it might be too late to look for another sponsor.
Assemble all of your degrees, work experience, resume and other documents that you will need for the H1B visa petition.
You can take this step while you are still in your job search, since many sponsors may want to see these documents anyway. Don’t embellish your work experience or create multiple versions of your resume that have conflicting information. This has the potential to lead to denial of your petition, and being barred entry to the US even if you already have a stamped H1B visa.
Even if you are applying for positions that are subject to the annual cap, apply for at least one cap exempt position in case you are not selected in the lottery.
You can use a ‘dual-strategy’ of applying for a corporate position subject to the cap, as well as a cap-exempt position with a non-profit or government institution. Since you can apply for cap-exempt positions at any time, you could be looking for that after you have completed the petition and are awaiting the April lottery. If you meet the requirements, then the cap-exempt position should be yours if you miss the lottery cut-off of 85,000 H1B visas.
Don’t Be Average
The actual H1B visa petition is submitted by your sponsor, so once you have the job the US company will handle the process for you. But, you still need to participate and provide all the requested information. These simple resolutions should give you a better than average chance of getting an H1B visa this year, and will give you an edge over other foreign workers that only apply for one job that is subject to the lottery.
If you need assistance locating a sponsor and position in your specialty occupation, please contact us soon. Happy New Year!
- January 3rd, 2017