What you need to know about H-1B
Before you begin your search, learn about your work authorization options. If you are on F1 visa, learn about CPT, OPT and OPT extension. Get an overview of how the H-1B process works. For students from countries like Australia, Canada, Singapore, or Chile, there may be additional work authorization options (see infographic below). Many employers do not know all the details about work authorization. The more you know, the more success you will have in your job search.
Get the facts
The rules for H-1B are under review in the U.S. This creates a lot of speculation and misinformation. During your job search pay attention to the information that comes from your international student services office on work authorization updates. The H-1B rules may change.
Employers are nervous about sponsoring H-1B visas
Employers value certainty in the hiring process. When hiring an international candidate on H-1B, employers don't have a lot of certainty. There's a possibility you won't be selected in the lottery. There's also a possibility that the H1-B rules will change. This creates uncertainty in the hiring process making some employers less likely to offer H1-B sponsorship. Hired.com noted this trend in their report, Global Tech Hiring:
Our research revealed a 60% decrease in requests from US-based companies to foreign workers from Q2 to Q4 2016, which was likely the result of uncertainty around immigration policies generated by the election. This uncertainty abated to some extent post-election, but in Q2 2017, US interest in foreign workers was still down 37% year over year.
While your focus is on getting hired in the US, it's easy to overlook what happens after you get hired on H-1B. I encourage you to learn as much as possible about what life is like after you get the H-1B, including the Greencard (GC) process. Get perspective from international students who have gone through the process. Here are a few Quora threads to read:
When in doubt about work authorization consult your international student services office. For those who want to start their own business, consult with immigration attorneys in your city or town. Many offer free consults.
And finally, read about an Indian tech worker on H-1B who tired of waiting for a Greencard. So he packed his family up and moved to Toronto. It's an interesting perspective on what it means to build a global career.
Beware of bad employers
Some employers take advantage of international students. They make promises about the H-1B or provide false information about pay rates. Some companies promise students they can get the H-1B; however, the selection process is lottery-based, so no company can guarantee you an H-1B. Some companies even attempt to defraud newly sponsored employees by offering them less money because they have to pay for sponsorship. This is illegal. If this happens, do not continue the discussion with the employer, no matter how much you want to work in the U.S. If they lie to you in the interview, they will not be honest when you are an employee.
Remember this simple advice: If anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
INFOGRAPHIC: H-1B Guide to Hiring Global Talent