For many international graduates, getting an H-1B visa sponsorship is a dream come true.
After all, this highly coveted work visa allows non-US residents to stay and work in the country for up to six years.
Convincing an employer to sponsor your H-1B visa, however, can be a difficult task. What’s more, the US has a lottery system for its H-1B with a mandated cap of 65,000.
Twenty thousand are reserved for foreign professionals who graduate with a master’s degree or doctorate from a US institution of higher learning.
That’s where knowing where to look for an H-1B visa sponsorship pays off— literally.
First, though, let’s dive deeper into why this work visa is a big win for international students and how to secure an H-1B visa sponsorship.
What is an H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is commonly referred to as the US’s staple work visa. Once you get this work visa, it is valid for three years with the possibility of another three-year extension.
That adds up to six years.
You would need to graduate with a minimum bachelor’s degree in the same or related field of the job scope.
H-1B speciality occupations include fields such as architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business, and more.
Do note that you cannot apply for this visa yourself — your employer will file it for you using an online system.
If you need help understanding the H-1B lottery system, here’s a handy guide.
For those who are interested in looking at USCIS, you can download their 2021 annual report here.
In 2021, USCIS approved 407,071 petitions, with close to 74% of successful applicants coming from India.
More than half (56%) of successful applicants were master’s graduates and 69% plan to work in IT.
Why is it important to secure an H-1B visa sponsorship?
Securing your H-1B visa means that you’re one step closer to permanent residency.
Once your H-1B visa reaches its maximum six-year limit, you can renew your H-1B status or directly appeal for a US green card.
With this, you can lawfully work and live in the US without needing an employer to sponsor you.
Your work won’t be limited to a specific field since you are no longer on the H-1B pathway — which gives you more freedom to seek jobs.
The green card also gives you a direct pathway into US citizenship after five years of permanent residency.
How do you find an H-1B visa sponsorship?
1. Apply to companies who are sponsoring H-1B visa
By knowing where to look, you have won half the battle. Start by researching companies who are already sponsoring H-1B visas in the past few years.
You can also refer to the H-1B Employer Data Hub on USCIS’s website.
According to reports, tech companies are among the US companies that sponsor the most H-1B visas. Some companies include:
- Tata Consultancy Services
- HCL America
We recommend that you tell the company that you need the H-1B visa sponsorship once you’ve secured a job offer. This gives them time to file your application.
2. Intern at a company
Are you already in the US on a student visa, such as the F-1? Try to find an internship or a co-op at a company that can sponsor an H-1B visa.
Again, remember to do your research and use the proper database to look for the right company.
Meanwhile, attend job fairs and career events to build your network. Your next opportunity might just be around the corner.
3. Find a job at uni
Consider this option if you like to work at an academic or research institution.
The best part about this option is that universities and nonprofits (or government) research organisations are exempt from the H-1B visa cap, according to UC Berkeley International Office.
This means they can sponsor as many H-1Bs as they wish.
Here’s the catch: you won’t be able to transfer this visa to work for a US company if you get an H-1B visa by working at a uni in the US.
Other than this downside, however, this is an option you can consider to extend your stay in the country.