If you’re an international professional looking for work in the U.S., there are a variety of things you need to consider, including obtaining an H-1B visa sponsorship. While this process can be complex and time-consuming, doing your due diligence to determine how to find a job with an H-1B visa sponsorship and where to look for H-1B visa jobs, will set you up for success.
What is an H-1B Visa?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the H-1B visa program applies to “employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens to work in specialty occupations or as fashion models.” Under the law, a specialty occupation is one that requires highly specialized knowledge, and eligible applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, or a higher degree (e.g., a master’s degree or Ph.D.). The visa program is intended to be used for temporary employment of qualified individuals.
Employers seeking to use this program must affirm to the DOL that they will adhere to certain standards designed to protect similarly employed workers from the U.S. from being adversely affected. Some of the provisions include salary and qualifications for hire.
H-1B Visa Categories
The government imposes limits on the number of H-1B visas that are available annually. For the 2021 fiscal year, the cap on regular H-1B visas is 65,000, which is often filled within the first few days they become available.
In addition, there are different types of H-1B visas available based on your area of specialty and the country you are from. These are known as categories of preference and are how the government divvies up and awards H-1B visas within the lottery system. Here are the categories of preference:
- Employment First Preference (E1) — This category is for professionals who are said to possess extraordinary abilities. Examples of individuals who fall within this category include athletes, business executives, professors, and scientists.
- Employment Second Preference (E2) — This category is for professionals who hold advanced educational degrees and includes those with Ph.D.’s, doctorate degrees, and master’s degrees.
- Employment Third Preference (E3) — This category is for professionals who have at least a bachelor’s degree and are skilled workers with at least two years of qualified employment experience. It’s important to note that this category of preference is the most common status for H-1B visa applicants. As such, the application and approval process for this category of preference H-1B visa can take longer to facilitate and complete.
- Employment Fourth Preference (E4) — This category of preference is for professionals considered to be “certain special immigrants.” Those who fall in this category often have completed special work for the U.S. government. Examples of individuals within this category include ministers and NATO citizens. This grouping receives a very small percentage of overall H-1B visas granted.
- Employment Fifth Preference (E5) — This final category of preference is used for immigrants or professionals who intend to invest funds or capital in new businesses located within the U.S.
How Do You Obtain an H-1B Visa?
As mentioned, H-1B visas are granted annually on a lottery basis. If you obtain an H-1B visa in the lottery, your visa will be good for three years.
To receive an H-1B visa, a company in the U.S. must sponsor you. In many cases, sponsoring an H-1B visa for an immigrant involves additional fees and paperwork. However, that’s not to discourage you. There are plenty of U.S.-based employers who value hiring immigrants to fill specialized roles within their company and are willing to pay extra costs to help you obtain proper sponsorship.
How to Find a Job With an H-1B Visa Sponsorship
If you’re in the market to find a job with an H-1B visa sponsorship, you may be wondering where to start. It’s important to remember that H-1B sponsorship jobs are for certain specialties only, not every single type of job in the U.S.
As such, you’ll want to make sure your career is one that is eligible for sponsorship. Some common examples include professors, doctors, medical personnel, researchers, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals.
If you fall within this category, you may be wondering how to find a job with an H-1B visa sponsorship. Here are some tips to help you with your job search:
- Check out sponsorship databases. There is a wide variety of H-1B visa sponsorship database tools available. My Visa Jobs, H1B Grader, and immihelp are just three examples to get you started. Use these databases to search for potential sponsoring employers in your desired location, industry, and more.
- Refine your resume. Your resume will be the first thing that employers see from you in many cases, so it’s important to make sure that it’s error-free, updated, and highlights all your special skills. You may also consider asking an English-speaking native to review your resume before you send it to prospective employers.
- Focus on your cover letter. In addition to sending your resume, you’ll likely have to provide a cover letter with your application. This is your opportunity to tell your story and explain why you would be a fit at the company. You should mention why you’d be a great candidate for an H-1B visa sponsorship, including specific details about your skills and specialties.
- Reach out to recruiters. Recruiters and staffing agencies can help you find the right job for you. Consider working with these professionals, who can also provide guidance on obtaining the sponsorship you need to be authorized to work in the U.S.
- Read up on the hiring and sponsorship process. As a candidate who is requesting sponsorship, you should have a firm understanding of the sponsorship and hiring process. Consider reaching out to an immigration attorney or firm for specific advice regarding your situation.
For more advice on obtaining an H-1B visa sponsorship, check out the following helpful resources: