The H1B Visa process is complicated and in the case of For-Profit companies, granting the H1B Visa is based on a “lottery system” with an annual cap. According to MyVisaJobs.com:
The current annual cap of H1B Visa is 65,000, but not all foreign professionals holding H1B Visa are subject to this annual cap.
- U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements allow up to 6,800(1,400 for Chilean nationals and 5,400 for Singapore nationals) be set aside from the cap during each fiscal year. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H1B use for the next fiscal year.
- Laws exempt up to 20,000 foreign nationals holding a master’s or higher degree from U.S. universities from the cap on H1B Visas.
- Laws also exempt all H1B non-immigrants who work at universities and non-profit research facilities from the cap on H1B Visas.
- Laws also exempt those who work in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
In 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), received nearly 200,000 applications and the cap was reached in 5 days. USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed from the approximately 199,000 H-1B petitions to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit.
Update from 2020: NAFSA: Association of International Educators has created a page that tracks U.S. visa and entry restrictions related to COVID-19
What companies are hiring international students? The top 10 list in terms of Visas granted for 2019* was:
- Tata Consultancy Services
- Cognizant Technology Solutions
- Tech Mahindra
*Data includes new, renew and transfer of LCA.
What companies are hiring international students in Houston? According to MyVisaJobs.com, Houston was ranked fourth in 2019 for the number of new, renewals, and transfers of Labor Condition Application (LCA) for H1B Visas. This does not mean that all of these applications were granted.
The complete list for Houston can be found at MyVisaJobs.com.
What are my chances of getting sponsored?
In 2018, “just 23.4 percent of employer respondents indicated they will hire international students. This is down from 27.5 percent last year and a high of 34.2 percent in 2015. The decrease, however, isn’t surprising, as employers also reported that they plan to hire almost 16 percent fewer international students for positions in the United States during the 2017-18 recruiting year” according to data collected in a survey of employers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
In addition, according to NACE, “by industry, accounting services employers show the most interest in hiring international students as 60 percent of respondents have plans to do so in 2017-18. ”
|INDUSTRY||% OF RESPONDENTS THAT PLAN TO HIRE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS|
|Computer & Electronics Mfg.||33.3%|
|Finance, Insurance & Real Estate||29.2%|
|Chemical (Pharmaceutical) Mfg.||25.0%|
Source: Job Outlook 2018, National Association of Colleges and Employers
Should I pursue a graduate program to increase my chances of getting sponsored?
While statistics show that international students with a graduate degree get hired at a higher ratio, a graduate degree is not a guarantee to a domestic job offer. Even if a company is willing and able to sponsor international students, in order to hire an international student over someone that doesn’t need sponsorship, a company must attest that they could not find a domestic candidate with the same skill set. This is where knowing what sets you as a candidate apart is crucial. Whether it is language skills, coding skills, cultural knowledge, or previous work experience in your home country, answering the question “Why should we hire you?” is incredibly important.
Does a graduate program with a STEM designation help? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made the following changes to the OPT-STEM Extension effective on May 10, 2016. The rule does not make any changes of the current Pre-Completion OPT and Post-completion OPT.
- Time increased from 17 months to 24 months
- New Required Training Plan (Form I-983)
- Under certain conditions, prior U.S. eligible degree (within 10 years) can be used for STEM-Extension unless a STEM-Extension was already used for this prior degree.
- Increased unemployment time on OPT STEM Extension from 30 to 60 days(total of 150 days when counting regular period of OPT)
- Two STEM extensions allowed instead of one per lifetime. The second can only be used at a higher degree level.
- Increased filing timeframe for OPT STEM Extensions from 30 to 60 days (based on the print date of the I-20).
- Has to be in a non-volunteer based capacity
For more details go to http://www.uh.edu/oisss/opt-details/stem-extension/
If my backup plan is to go back and work in my home country, what sources does Bauer provide for that job search?
Check out GoinGlobal. GoinGlobal helps job and internship seekers find opportunities both at home and abroad. We are an expert-created, constantly updated career resource committed to providing “grassroots employment intelligence” through our team of local career experts. These globally-minded individuals are in place around the world, personally monitoring and updating the career information and resources that we deliver to you. GoinGlobal Country and US City Guides can be found under External Links on the right side of the Gateway Student Homepage
CareerShift is another resource available through the External Links on the right side of the Gateway Student Homepage. CareerShift was created to help job seekers successfully navigate the published and hidden job market to find career opportunities. CareerShift has offered an online set of integrated applications proven to help job seekers since 2007. Named “The Best Job Search Tool on the Internet,” CareerShift is available to individual users, institutions, and organizations in the United States, Canada, UK Countries, and Australia. Using an exclusively licensed, patent-pending set of integrated tools, job seekers are able to find employment more easily and conveniently. With CareerShift‘s robust company and contact database, users can find current job connections and make meaningful new connections all around the world.
Any tips to make my job search as an International Student in the United States more successful?
While networking is important for all students, as an International Student, building a relationship based network is critical for a successful job search within the United States. For this reason, we highly recommend that international students devote a fair amount of time to meet as many professionals as possible in the industries and functions that they want to work in.
- Utilize the events page on HireBauer.com, the Bauer College events page, and the University of Houston Career Services events calendar and UCS meet and greets to connect with employers when they come to campus for information sessions, workshops, and career mixers and career fairs.
Books for International Students
The Rockwell Career Center highly recommends the following books for International Students
- The 2 Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton and the accompanying LinkedIn group.
- Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands by Terri Morrison
- Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States by Dan Beaudry
- The International Advantage: Get Noticed. Get Hired! Paperback – by Marcelo C Barros
- 3 Steps to Your Job in the USA: Go From F-1 to H-1B by Steven Steinfeld with Yinping Huang