Sunday, January 31, 2010

Getting Your First Job: "I Need H-1B Sponsorship" (Part 1 of 7)

At the request of one of my loyal fans, I'm going to answer tackle matters related to getting your first job.

Getting your first real job is hard enough, so how do you do it when you need an employer to manage the process of sponsoring your H-1B visa? To be honest, I have no idea what it takes to get approved for an H-1B visa, or other visa that allows one to work in the United States, so I'm not going to focus on obtaining the visa. This article focuses on what to do if you've already got permission to work and you need someone to sponsor your visa.

If you need an employer to make special accommodations for your visa, you need the following:

  • Good information. You already know that an employer has to go through the hassle and expense of working with you to get you on the payroll, so you need to make it easy for the employer. Work with an attorney you trust, preferably someone recommended to you by friend with the same visa, to clearly identify the steps it will take for an employer to hire you. Also make sure you even have the right to work in the US. When an employer asks you if you need visa sponsorship, you say "Yes, and the process of hiring me is very easy. I have a list of the few basic steps required if you'd like to see them." Making it easy for the employer to understand is important.

  • Don't bring it up. Wait for an employer ask you about visa sponsorship. The further you get into the hiring process, the less your visa matters. If you say right before your first interview that you need visa sponsorship, you are very likely be removed from consideration. If an employer interviews 10 people and then wants to hire you, it's much harder for that employer to ignore that fact that you need visa sponsorship. After all, the employer has already decided that they like you, and when you pull out your simple list that says "Here's exactly how to sponsor my visa", I bet many employers will just do it. After all, it's probably cheaper and faster for them to do the visa paperwork than interview another 10 people.

  • Don't focus on the fact that you need visa sponsorship. It's easy to think that you are somehow disadvantaged because you need a visa. Of course you're at a disadvantage, so get over it. The truth is we've all got disadvantages to overcome, yours is just more obvious. Just stick to being excellent and someone people would want to work with, and you'll be farther ahead than most of the other people applying for the same job.

  • Don't pay for the employer to sponsor your visa. Any employer should pay ALL the costs of related to the H-1B paperwork, except perhaps for advice you get from an attorney on your own.

  • Be sure your employment offer is legitimate. Some employers in the United States abuse the H-1B sponsorship process. These companies hire people who want a visa and will work for cheap and then force the people to find work on their own. This is bad. Not only is the employer essentially a glorified staffing agency, but it's possible to accept a job and then find yourself looking for another job. In 2006 one woman I know ended up with an "employer" holding her visa that would only pay her for work she found on her own, she couldn't find any, and then was stuck in a fake job with no income. On her own, she finally did get an offer from a legitimate company with for a full time, regular position, she was unable to prove she was working for the "employer" holding her visa - she had no pay stub - and the company was legally unable to hire her. Imagine how shitty that would feel...

1 comment:

  1. The information you posted really helped me.