US employers are grossly unequipped to understand work visa sponsorship and often do not care to learn.
Often when I speak to international students who are on Optional Practical Training and other foreign nationals who are applying for a job in the United States, I hear their frustration about the employers not knowing much about work visa sponsorship. Undoubtedly, discussion regarding work visa sponsorship is the biggest obstacle standing between the foreign national job applicant and their career in the United States. As such, finding an employer who is willing to go through with the sponsorship process as well as educating them about the process make the process of coming to the United States to work extremely daunting. At the same time, the complicated sponsorship process also prevents the United States from receiving talents from outside of United States. To help foreign employees negotiate for work visa sponsorship, I am sharing the following tips.
Tip 1: Approach small and medium size employers to cut through the bureaucracy and try to reach the person in charge of the company
I advise my clients to first approach small and medium size employers to obtain promise of sponsorship because in those companies often one person makes all of the hiring decision. If you can win the heart of that one person, you are more likely to receive the promise of work visa sponsorship. On the other hand, larger corporations often has very complex human resource allocation and structures that make it difficult for foreign employees to receive sponsorship unless the company have extensive experience in hiring foreign employees. Most of them do not, and not only will they take a long time to get back to the candidate, the answer is often negative. Therefore, approaching smaller and medium size employers to obtain several offers and have all of them file H-1b petition will not only increase efficiency in job search, but it will also raise your chances of getting your H-1b petition selected in the random lottery. It is plain math: more petitions equals higher chance of being selected in the H-1b lottery. As long as one employer’s petition is selected in the lottery, it would be much easier to transfer that petition to another employer in the future.
Tip 2: Assure the employer that the work visa sponsorship process is simple and only involves signing documentations generated by the immigration lawyer.
Employers are often afraid to sponsor foreign employees because they do not know where to begin the process and they do not want to deal with the Federal government. What they don’t know is that the immigration lawyer will be in charge of producing all of the necessary paperwork and the employer only has to review and sign them. It is important to utilize personal connection and all the leverages in the employee’s disposal, such as technical skills, work experience, licenses, to convince the employer that the employee is worth the sponsorship. Obviously, candidates with knowledge and skills that the employer needs will be able to better utilize them to their advantage to secure a sponsorship. I advise my client to have a consultation with our immigration lawyer first before approaching the employer so that we can organize the sponsorship request in a manner that can be easily understood by the hiring person and enable the employer to make a positive decision because they realize that employers are only minimally involved in the preparation of the work visa sponsorship documentations.
Tip 3: Hire an experienced immigration lawyer to speak to the employer to enable them to understand how easy the process is to offer sponsor of work visa to foreign nationals.
I am often called upon by clients who pay for my hourly rate to call or email their potential employer to discuss work visa sponsorship. Normally the discussion would last no more than two hours, and I have had much success in convincing the employer to offer sponsorship to employees whom they believe are worthy of joining their team. It is important to note, however, that I cannot tell the employer that the employee will pay for all of the filing fees as that might be deemed inappropriate under current H-1b regulations. In the real world, sometimes, employees and employers come to a tacit agreement between themselves to have the employee reimburse the employer for the H-1b filing fees. As the immigration attorney who will prepare the application, I will not be involved in these agreements. I also cannot legally advise employees who use payment of H-1b filing fee as yet another leverage to persuade the employer to offer sponsorship, but employees have been known to reimburse the employer for H-1b filing fees.
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