While the H1B visa program is in the midst of administrative and policy changes this year, several very practical questions come up for hopeful foreign workers seeking an H1B position in the US. You cant really control or predict the H1B visa reforms, but rest assured that next year many thousands of H1B visas will be awarded to those with specialized skills to offer US companies.
Which companies are now the best as an H1B visa sponsor?
The best companies after some recent rule changes, are those that are making direct hires of skilled foreign workers. What this means is that companies that would simply outsource you on short term contracts are not the best option, as their access to H1B visas may be seriously limited in the future. For example, if you are highly skilled in the IT sector, you are better off applying to Microsoft or Facebook, rather than Infosys or Wipro.
For some occupations, an even better option is to apply with cap-exempt sponsors in the non-profit or government sector, as those positions will still be wide open and can be applied for at any time since they are not entered into the April 2018 lottery.
When should I look for a position, and should I wait to see if there are any new laws passed about the H1B visa program?
You can start your sponsor and job search now for 2018 (fiscal year 2019), and an early start could mean that you will have several offers to choose from. A good strategy is to identify your top priority sector and position, and then also have a ‘back up’ offer with a cap exempt sponsor in case you don’t make it through the lottery selection.
There is no reason to wait and see if the US Congress changes the H1B visa program with any new laws, since at this point those would probably not take effect until fiscal year 2020.
Is there anything special I should do to prepare for the petition process or consulate interview?
One thing you can do right away is compile documentation of all work history, educational degrees, references and certifications. Scrutiny of H1B visa petitions is sure to increase, and your CV should match exactly the supporting documents.
The consulate interview may also be more in depth, and new rules allow officers to ask you about your travel history, residences, family members and social media accounts over the past 5-10 years.
If I am an IT worker from India will I have a chance to get an H1B visa with all of the competition from my skilled countrymen?
It depends on your skill and experience level, and due to the fact that there will be fewer H1B visas given to IT outsourcing companies, that will surely increase competition. Entry level computer programmers will not qualify for H1B visas any longer according the USCIS.
Nonetheless, if you do have the requisite work experience and a Master’s degree or higher, you have an excellent chance of finding a position and receiving an H1B visa to work in the US. With a Bachelor’s degree, you should have significant work experience in the same occupation and position type that you are applying for.
The bottom line is not to lose hope because of all the negative press and comments surrounding the H1B visa program. The non-immigrant work visa is alive and well for many occupations, so if working in the US is your dream you can start now looking for a sponsor and position.
- September 18th, 2017