About a year ago one of my very first clients came to me with a specific request: “Please help me find a job that offers an H1B visa”. Finding a job after college is already difficult enough, but finding a job that offers H1B? That’s going to require some real patience and research. Fortunately, I’ve put together all the data and statistics I’ve found during my research in order to help those who are looking for jobs that offer an H1B visa! So, before we get started with advice, let’s look at some statistics and trends first:
Statistics to know
65,000 – The H1B is a lottery, meaning of all the applicants (190,000 applicants in 2018), only 65,000 are selected through a lottery process. The lottery process ensures that regardless of your education, career, or income, everyone get’s the same chance of being selected.
20,000 – The only difference is that for those with a Master’s degree and above, they are also included in a 2nd lottery in which 20,000 applicants are selected, effectively giving you two chances at an H1B if you have a Master’s degree.
38% - According to this, the average applicant has a 38% chance of being selected in the H1B lottery.
April 1st – This is the filing period for the H1B visa every year so don’t be late or early! The filing period closes roughly 5 days after opening, so make sure that your forms are sent and received on April 1st!
California, Texas, New York – The top 3 states that file for H1B, meaning your chances of finding a company that can sponsor H1B are significantly higher in these 3 states than anywhere else (with New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, and Massachusetts as the next 4). California applies for almost 2x as many H1B as Texas, meaning if you need a company to sponsor you for H1B then California is your best bet!
67% - In 2015, 67% of H1B approvals were computer related positions. In fact, the majority of H1B applicants and approvals come mostly from STEM fields.
3 Years – As an H1B visa holder, you are permitted to stay for 3 years and are eligible for a 3 year extension after your first 3 years are over.
We know the numbers behind H1B visas and what they are, but how do we make sure we can get into a company willing to sponsor you?
1) Write a resume tailored for H1B jobs
A common mistake I see on a lot of resumes is that candidates often don’t do a great job communicating their intentions clearly. If you need a job from a company that sponsors H1B, it’s in your best interests to be as clear as possible on your resume. Yes, you will get fewer interviews simply because many companies don’t sponsor H1B, but if you were dishonest and they found out you needed an H1B later you won’t get sponsored anyway! Remember to use the objectives statement to communicate that you’re in need of H1B sponsorship.
2) Find a company that sponsors H1B
Not many companies sponsor H1B visas due to how expensive and uncertain they can be. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find good ones that do!
Myvisajobs.com is one of the best websites you can use to pull raw H1B data and analyze them. While you can see which companies sponsor the most H1B, it would be more helpful to go through H1B sponsors by city and see what kind of companies sponsor H1B in your city. If you want to be more specific, use the search function and search through your state/city!
3) Applying to a job that relates directly to your education
The biggest difference between an H1B job seeker and a regular job seeker is that the H1B job seeker must find a job directly related to their major. It’s not enough to find the right company, you also have to find the right job.
The best way to do this is to:
- Make a list of all careers and fields that directly relate to your major
- Figure out which careers are the most “specialized” (because the H1B is for specialty occupations)
- Find companies that offer those types of positions
- See if those companies offer H1B visas on myvisajobs.com
4) Make sure that you’re a W-2 worker and NOT 1099!
The key difference between a W-2 employee and a 1099, is that a W-2 employee earns a salary while a 1099 worker is an independent contractor and NOT an employee of the company. In order to qualify for an H1B, you must be employed as a W-2, salaried worker. Make sure that you know the distinction when looking for a job!
5) The H1B Cap Exemption
Not every single company needs to go through the lottery for their H1B candidate. Did you know that there are 3 types of entities that are exempt from the cap? This means that for employees of these entities, they can file for an H1B at any time (not required to file on April 1st) and are not subject to the lottery meaning there is no uncertainty! The types of entities that are exempt are:
“Institution of Higher Education”
What is an “Institution of Higher Education”? The legal definition can be found here, which basically boils down to a certified university or college. This essentially means that if you can get hired at a college or university for a specialty occupation (for example, as a professor) then you’re exempt from the H1B lottery!
“Non-Profit Entity Affiliated/Related to an Institution of Higher Education”
According to USCIS a non-profit entity affiliated with a college/university must be directly connected with a college/university.
“Non-Profit Research Organization”
The USCIS definition of a Non-Profit Research Organization is “an organization that is primarily engaged in basic research and/or applied research). As you can see, the definition is pretty broad and not specific. I would recommend searching for Non-Profits and this could is a good place to start.
About a month ago, the client that requested an H1B resume told me that she was not only able to land a job that sent in an H1B application for her, she got selected in the lottery as well! While it can seem like a difficult and hopeless road, make sure to stay positive as it is definitely more possible than it feels.