• Why getting an H1B visa at a big company may be a slog…

    August 1, 2016 | Blog | Dan
  • In my experience, every international student hoping to secure an H1B immediately targets the big brand employers that define the image of American business: Microsoft, JP Morgan, Google, Disney, Apple, etc. (See this interesting article on the “top” global brands.) There’s certainly opportunity at these firms, but if I were an international student, I wouldn’t focus on them for my American job search.  Here’s why:

    • The line is too long. Ever visit a career fair and stand in line waiting to speak with a recruiter from one of these companies? You’re not the only one drawn to the big brand employers.  Competition is fierce, and standing out is a challenge.  Since these companies are used to being approached by H1B-visa hunting international students, they usually have instituted…
    • Too many rules regarding visa sponsorship. Large companies generally have some sort of policy regarding their position on sponsorship. That policy may or may not be friendly to visas, but in either case, there will be rules that human resources attempts to impose on the hiring process: rules that often complicate, slow or eliminate your chances of getting hired there (such as a policy stating “we don’t sponsor visas.”) On the other hand…
    • Small companies often don’t have HR. And without Human Resources, there are fewer policies, rules and impediments to speaking directly with hiring managers. There won’t be anyone telling you that you need to speak with HR if you’re looking for a job. In fact…
    • Many small companies don’t know what an H1B is. As an applicant, you can approach a hiring manager with your value proposition first (without being forced to speak about your visa status by HR), and then educate the company yourself on how the visa process works. This means more control for you. And last…
    • The recent “50/50” fee increase for H1B’s probably won’t apply. You can find more details on the H1B fee increase here. But the upshot is that companies with less than 50 employees are exempt.

    In short, an American job search strategy that focuses on small companies is a good idea. When you accept your job offer from a small company, you may need to educate your family a little more on what your new employer does than if you worked for, say, JP Morgan. But that’s a small price to pay for drastically reduced competition, direct access to hiring managers, and a process that you can control.  Give it a shot!