Design visas and H1Bs

Anyone else applying this year?
The situation for H1Bs is pretty dire… 172 000 for 85 000 spots.
I am still waiting for my result from the lottery… but every day the chances dwindle.

In the last few weeks, I have read a lot about immigration and temporary worker policies here in US and non-surprisingly, in the public there is a lot of animosity towards foreigners coming to this country to work.
The industries that hire the most H1Bs see this differently and insist that they just can’t source what they need domestically.

It should be noted that any visa is a costly and risky undertaking and companies don’t do this for fun or for the pleasure of having cute foreign accents in the office. There is also minimum wage which is set at the average compensation for the position in that particular region. So it is far from cheap foreign labor.

This is a hot topic and I was wondering what the general consensus here on the boards would be.

find a pretty american and marry. that solved all my headaches related to visas…

This might invite a whole new set of headaches though :wink:

You better believe it!

I just messaged you actually to find out if you had gotten any news!

On another note, I have my pretty American, she just doesn’t want to get married for the sake of a visa :frowning:

The frustrating part is that the money involved (currently) isn’t a staggering amount which a lot of people get very confused and closed off about. With lawyer fees it is roughly around $6000 which when you think about it is $2000 a year for the three years that the foreign employee is with the company. It is just a matter of factoring in that cost to how much the employer values you at.

I actually managed to get myself in to a heated discussion on Linkedin when a tech leader posted about the supply/demand of H1B’s. Alot of the same stuff was coming up mainly that the software/IT industry is a heavy user of the H1B visa and has created a lot of stigma around foreigners taking US jobs/driving down wages etc etc etc…yet the cap still applies to every other foreign worker wanting to work in the US

What I have found generally is that a lot of people from the US forget that the immigration laws apply to 90% of the rest of the world (Canadians, Mexicans, Australians and a few others that have special visas) Being a UK citizen my colleagues don’t see me as any different and over time often forget my accent and often say they don’t understand why I have had such a tough time with finding a visa sponsor.

Well you don’t tell her your getting married for the visa - rookie mistake!

Good discussion, haven’t seen it before, at least in a while.

My point of view is that even if a foreigner is hired, they will end up supported the economy when they come in, between local businesses, paying rent, etc. In a way, they already did this when they went to college. I think it should be all merit based – it’s hard to see it as a foreigner “taking” a U.S. citizen’s job if the foreigner might happen to have better skills all and is more useful to the company. I can see the application cost being offset by a reduced salary for 1-3 years, does anyone know if this is practiced? In Sketchgrad’s 3 year example, I would consider a $2000 pay cut if it meant sponsorship if I were a foreign applicant.

Of course, I did have someone close to me who had this issue so that no doubt makes me biased. :wink:

Really glad to see you have a a positive and educated outlook on foreign employees Robbie :wink: It always helps when you personally know someone that this has an impact on.

A similar situation is currently happening in the UK too. In 2012 we stopped allowing international (outside of EU) grads being allowed to stay after they finish their degree - we used to have something similar to OPT. The irony being a lot of those students/grads from Asia were very wealthy and would be living in expensive housing and eating in fancy restaurants. They were contributing way more to the economy than us home students racking up mountains of debt borrowed from the government.

Believe me if a US employer wants to go through the trouble of hiring someone international then that person has to be way better than the US national that they are “stealing” a job from. The H1B visa comes with a salary threshold (the prevailing wage) per region/job title/experience level. For example for myself as a junior ID in NYC my salary must be $45k minimum. An employer could look at it as they would be paying me $50k but I just don’t see the other $5k.

But that is me as a junior, if it were someone more senior that had a lot of bang and was worth the buck I doubt an extra $5k would break the bank if the firm was interested. Also remember it’s not like everyone does want to move over to the States, a lot of my pals back home have no desire. It’s just so damn difficult for those of us that do.

Anyway, enough from me as I’m on the wrong side of the fence for this discussion :wink:

I’m currently a UK design student and I have every intention of going down this route as I’ve tried before.

After going through the visa process just for an internship visa I’ve kind of come to the realisation that I should focus entirely on becoming the best designer possible and getting to the best firms in the UK/Europe, until someone from Asia/US looks at my work and thinks ‘I want this kid and I’ll pay whatever money and time to get him’. Otherwise I’ll waste a lot of time and money trying to rush into ‘American Dream’ when I hope if I’m patient, it’ll happen naturally.

I’d like to hear if anyone else thinks it would be worth trying to rush into it as it could progress their career faster in the end?..

Seeing the quality of design students and juniors in the US, I’d say you’d have to be among the best to be considered for that. Anyway, in another post somebody talked about the J-1 trainee, which is easier to get. It could be the way of having a first year-long trial with a studio before they decided whether they should hire you for a longer period or not.

Yes. This is what I did and as I understand quite a few firms are doing this. I think it’s a great way for both the company and the designer to see if it’s a good fit.
There are no quotas on J-1, it’s cheap and there are no salary caps.

What sucks is when you put in a year and half on what essentially feels like a “trail period” after which you actually start to generate some momentum, to realize that your chances of staying are less then 50%. Not because of competition by other talent in the field mind you but because of an outdated and arbitrarily set quota. It is the essence of feeling powerless about once faith.

Yes this exactly. The question isn’t about talent or skills - if you are in the position to already be in the States on a J1 and have been offered a full time job you’re pretty much there.

It’s all about the system. The cap is manufactured meaning that the US isn’t bursting at the seams with no room to allow people in. If there are only 65k spaces and 175k apply then surely something isn’t right there.

From what I have read the software/IT industry is a heavy user of the H1B system, with companies abusing it. What would make more sense is to put a cap on industires with higher applicants leaving it both in industry sector and country of origin, but that would mean there has to be some sort of logic applied which we know is never the case :wink:

No salary limits? What about time, is there a limit? It sounds like a good fit if you want to go there just for 1-2 years. The problem would come if after that period you want to stay longer. I really don’t understand this limit in the number of visas. When you have high skilled workers coming to your country, it can only be good for the society. At the end, most of your income is going to help other businesses in the area as you’ll end up purchasing most of the stuff (car, housing, groceries, technology, etc) there.

Yes, the company can decided what they will pay you. Some firms pay better than others and some don’t pay at all.
The J-1 is effectively an internship visa, so it is tied to academic achievements. Not everybody can get it.
You need a bachelors or masters in you field and yes, there is a time limit. One year (internship visa) or 18 months (trainee visa).
I am at the end of my 18 months now.

It would be nice to hear from some American designers on these boards?
Maybe even the ones making hiring decisions?

As an American, I don’t think there should be such limitations. To job should go to the best person. That is what a meritocracy is supposed to be like. If there is someone awesome who wants to work in the US, we should enable that and help that person to become a citizen, excel, start a family, pay taxes, all that good stuff. My great grandfather came to the US on a boat at 14 years old with only his 16 year old brother. They spoke no English. They got jobs on the railroad in New York, saved up some money and asked for a couple of neighborhood girls to be sent over from the old country for them to marry… how could any American in good conscious deny others the opportunities our ancestors had? We were all immigrants of some kind or another.

As a hiring manager I typically just avoid the hassle. We are a relatively small company (compared to other places I’ve worked) and while the cost is not high, the HR rigamarole can take a toll. When I worked at Nike it was no problem because they regularly secured Visas and it was more of a matter of allocating them. Similarly, frog was accustomed to this type of thing. That said, if someone amazing came my way, I would certainly do whatever I could to get that person.

Thanks for chiming in, Yo.

The thing is, that it doesn’t matter how much the company wants the employee. If the candidate strikes out in the H1B lottery, then that’s it. There aren’t any real alternatives, apart from maybe the O, which is highly improbable to get.
You just can’t buy yourself a visa.
There are alternatives for companies that do have international offices. Nike and Frog would fall into that category of course.

During a recession, there is an abundance of H1Bs such as in 2011 and rarely anybody talks about the fact that high-skill international recruits play an instrumental role in pulling the economy out of the dirt.

Personally, I think by far the biggest drawback for both employer and employee in the visa process has nothing to to with money, lawyer fees or paperwork.
It’s that you can’t plan. You just don’t know when the employer will get a visa if, and that is a big if, will get it at all.

I feel you, I think it should be that any graduate of a US educational institution should have some preference over the 172k+ applicants… :confused: It’s so odd to think that we would put in 4~5 years of time in education in the US, do multiple internships, yet at the end, we have to leave the country. Thankfully, I recently received my H1-B receipt, which means I was in the lucky few. I agree with yo; just like getting a job is based on merit, immigration should also be based on skill, not random lottery.

@Bepster: I knew you had to be graduate and have like a year working experience, but I couldn’t find anything about for how long is it valid. Thanks for all the info! I think it’s a very good option for both company and you to go there and see how’s life in the US, I might try that in the future. Could you also get an extension or anything like that?

@yo: Good to see there’s people thinking that way there. I’m an immigrant myself at the moment, luckily I had no VISA issues because it’s within the EU, but still not the same culture or language or legal system. It’s shocking seeing how countries like USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, which grew up and became what they are because of immigrants, now are so restrictive (Probably the US more than the others). I could expect that from Japan or any other country which has been historically closed to immigration, but especially not those.

Just because I am curious, what about emigrating to the Eu from the outside? What’s that like?

I’m a US citizen and my German doesn’t suck. What’s the process like to get a job in Austria?

And you thought coming to the US was difficult. I did a little research a few years back when I was being recruited for a position in Germany. Didn’t seem easy.