When I first started out and was thinking about how to get an H1B visa to work in the USA, I originally thought all I had to do was apply for an H1B visa, move over there and then I could get a job, and my life would be awesome.
But as I looked into it, it turns out I was totally wrong and there’s quite a lot more too it than that. A whole bunch of immigration processes and procedures to follow, and before you can do anything you have to try and find a job in the USA with a company that will sponsor you and file a work visa for you.
Just about every job I applied to on all the big job boards the companies said they didn’t sponsor. It’s like hell trying to find out what to do, and which companies provide the opportunities to get a visa.
In short, if I don’t get a job with a company who will sponsor me and file a visa, there’s no other way of getting an H1B. It is frustrating! Why does the US make it so complicated for people who want to legitimately work there in good professional and skilled jobs!
Thankfully I got a ray of hope this morning when I found and spoke with a representative at a specialist company called H1Base.com who was kind enough to spend about 30 minutes on the phone with me and didn’t charge me any consultation fees or anything, and didn’t even try to sell me anything.
I learnt a lot, but to break some of it down into the basics:
– a job with a company is step 1, nothing can be done without a job offer first.
– it must be a job with a company willing to file an H1B work visa for you.
– there’s a total of 85,000 H1B’s available per year.
– H1B’s are filed by companies in April each year, it’s like you only get one shot per year.
– if there’s more applications filed than visas available then there’s a lottery to select 85,000.
– most companies in the USA don’t want to go the extra steps to file visas and get involved with immigration.
– the companies that do tend to hide their jobs, they don’t publicly advertise them.
– most companies hire people from direct applications sent to hiring managers, or by applications received directly through their website (apparently this is called ATS recruitment method), or by networking methods.
– also the job you get offered must meet a certain salary to get a visa approved. Apparently this is called a prevailing wage which enforces a minimum salary level for every type of job in every city. For example the same job in a high cost of living City like New York or San Francisco has a completely different prevailing wage to somewhere like Wyoming etc
The Good news is when you finally manage to jump through all the hoops and somehow pull it all of successfully, the H1B visa is valid for 6 years, it can be transferred to a different employer if you want to change jobs, and you can go from H1B to Green Card status if you want to permanently live in the USA and even go on to become a Citizen.
There’s a lot of rewards and benefits, but I feel it’s going to be a serious challenge to pull it all off and get to the finish line.Published in