The past year has seen the full spectrum of debate and proposed rule changes to the H1B visa program, and it shows no signs of letting up. While there is still no new legislation affecting the program structure or qualifications, a lot has happened at the administrative level using existing rules. Most of the press seems negative, and it is hard to know exactly what has changed with petition review and approval rates.
It may be difficult for a foreign national to get a real sense of whether it is still worth the effort to look for a sponsor and position with an H1B visa. A related question that many are expressing is if working in America is still as desirable as in the past, with increases in immigration scrutiny and restrictions.
Personal Choice and Professional Opportunity
These are valid questions, and the overall choice to live and work in any foreign country is highly individual, depending upon personal circumstances, flexibility, age, family duties and simple tolerance for uncertainty.
However, there are a few basic facts that remain true about working in the US with an H1B visa, that can act as guidelines when evaluating whether to seek job opportunities:
- The H1B visa program, qualifications, and lottery for the coming year are the same, with no structural changes. However, there is a new level of rule enforcement for existing qualification standards, and some entry level technical positions wont be approved.
- Most H1B specialty occupations in the US offer a higher pay scale than in the home country of the majority of applicants. This is more true than ever, with an increased emphasis on positions that pay the higher wage tiers for H1B jobs. Many H1B visa workers can earn more in the US while gaining valuable work experience.
- Technical workers with specialized skills remain in high demand in the US economy. Despite the outcry over lost US citizen jobs, the educational system remains focused on entrepreneurial and professional skills, rather than technical degrees. For example, many companies report a shortage of qualified IT workers in the US.
- Immigration reform in the US is not designed to bar entry to every visa applicant, and any changes are simply being made to protect American jobs and ensure only the best foreign nationals are obtaining work visas. Qualified applicants continue to receive work visas, and there is every reason to expect that the 2019 quota of 85,000 H1B visas will be quickly filled.
- Despite recent press, the US continues to be a place where a mix of race, nationality and culture are the norm, and most foreign nationals find there is a high quality of life available. Some H1B hopeful applicants may be discouraged by incidents of bias, but these are isolated events, and the US remains a multi-cultural country with a firm history of human rights and freedoms.
The bottom line is that any skilled foreign worker has the chance to find a sponsor and position (cap or cap-exempt) in many different occupations. If the dream is to live and work in the US, then it is virtually cost-free to make the attempt and evaluate the opportunities. Don’t allow policy debates and negative new stories discourage you, because with a little effort and luck you could be working in the US this time next year.
Please contact us if you have questions about how to find sponsors or if you have doubts that you can qualify for a position in your occupation. We might have good news for you.
- October 23rd, 2017