Regular followers of our blog know that nearly every week there is news about how the Trump administration and immigration authorities are making an H1B visa more difficult to obtain. This decidedly negative news slant may be discouraging to some H1B visa applicants who want to work in the US, but you should know that the picture is not as dark as it seems.
As we enter the new year with the FY 2019 H1B visa season well under way, we offer you a few new year’s resolutions that may inspire you to move forward in seeking an H1B visa over the long term. Even if some of these may take some time, you will be better positioned to succeed in your quest for a non-immigrant work visa in the future.
Upgrade Your Skills and Experience
With the new “best and brightest” standard in place for reviewing an applicant’s qualifications, it makes sense to acquire new or enhanced skill sets that will set you apart. Also, securing a position in your home country for a while to boost your relevant experience level will improve your chances of approval by USCIS.
Start Working Toward a Master’s or Doctorate Degree
The bottom line is that H1B applicants with higher degrees have a much better chance of obtaining an H1B visa. The reason is that the positions are typically higher paid and there is less chance of displacing a US worker. Master’s or Doctorate degree holders also have two chances to ‘win’ in the annual H1B lottery in April.
Focus on Cap-Exempt Positions
There have been few changes to the cap-exempt H1B visa rules, and this continues to present an easier path toward a work visa. If you are willing to work for a non-profit or government employer, you will not be subject to the lottery and can apply at any time during the year.
Build Relationships with Potential, Direct-Hire Sponsors
If you are working on your skills and education, you can still establish contact now with companies who hire many high-level H1B employees. Let them know of your interest and what you are currently doing to bring them the skills that they need in the future.
It is also possible to perform remote work as a contractor for US companies, giving you more experience as well as a chance to prove your value.
Avoid Applying for Positions with Known Outsourcing Companies
Outsourcing companies in the IT sector are the primary target of H1B visa reform, including pending legislation in Congress. A smart applicant will avoid these companies altogether, and focus on direct hire, non-outsourced positions to prevent being caught in the wave of anti-outsourcing immigration policy.
Keep a Positive Attitude and Take the “High Percentage” Path to an H1B Visa
All of these resolutions are designed to increase your odds of obtaining an H1B visa. If you follow them, you will be on much higher percentage path to working in the US. For example, an applicant with a Master’s degree applying for a cap-exempt position, with a few years of directly related experience, can almost be guaranteed an H1B visa.
Just because there are changes to the non-immigrant work visa, does not mean that your dream of working in the US is over. In the end, a willingness to work within the rule changes, adapt your strategy and keep a positive outlook will set you apart from the majority of H1B visa applicants.
If you have questions about finding a sponsor and position please contact us at any time, and Happy New Year to all of you!
- January 6th, 2018