What is an H-1B visa sponsorship?
An H-1B visa sponsorship allows employers or companies to hire international graduates to work in the United States. These graduates must be qualified in specific fields to be considered for an H-1B visa sponsorship.
“Will this company sponsor my H-1B visa once my F-1 OPT ends?”
It’s the question on every international masters student’s lips as they near the end of their studies.
That’s doubly true for MBA and other business school graduates, as they’re limited to 12 months of work on their F-1 OPT extension. After that, it’s an H-1B visa or you’re heading back home. Instead of H-1B for MBA graduates, there are also other visa classes, especially for those with an entrepreneurial passion, but that’s not always the most straightforward option when you’re paying off international student loans at the same time.
STEM graduates face the same question, though they may not feel the same pressure at first. With up to 36 months in the US on the OPT STEM extension, they’ve got a little more time to find their feet.
But, the reality is that it's becoming more and more complex to secure an H-1B visa. It can be pretty time-consuming for the companies that sponsor international students, and - at the end of the day - it’s a lottery, so there is an element of risk.
Of course, there are still several US companies that sponsor visas and hire international graduates. If you want to be employed by companies that recruit international students, it’s best to research companies that sponsor the most H-1B visas every year.
Top 10 companies that consistently sponsor H-1B visas
- Tata Consultancy Services
- HCL America
Apart from these top 10 companies, here are a few others that sponsor H1-B visas:
- Tech Mahindra
To be eligible to apply for an H-1B visa, the applicants must ensure the following:
- They must have a certificate of a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent to substantiate their skills in the specialised field.
- The vacancy they are applying for must fall within the list of “speciality occupations” that demand specialised and unique knowledge.
There’s a lot more to it than simply checking out the top 10 H-1B visa sponsors list and employers hiring international graduates. You want a fulfilling job that ticks a lot more boxes than just H-1B visa assistance - and this article may help you get the job that fits you like a glove.
Your university knows H-1B visa sponsors
You’ll find that the careers department and the international student office at your school work closely to help their international students and graduates find the right employers in the US. They may connect you with companies that sponsor H-1B visas.
In parallel, companies rely on schools to identify their top talent. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Even if you have an offer from your internship company or you’re planning to return to the company that helped sponsor your degree, it’s worth checking out what the careers department has to offer and find out which are the companies that sponsor H-1B visas most consistently.
H-1B visa sponsorship for international students: Top tips to find jobs using university resources
- Before beginning your masters degree studies, check out your school’s career services and ask for their experience helping international graduates get jobs in the US. There will be some focus on F-1 OPT, but they can guide you towards companies that also sponsor H-1B visas.
- Most schools recommend you spend time in their careers department and visit their advisors. For example, Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College suggests you speak to one of their Career Advisors and get a mentor at the school.
- Many schools that encourage international students to apply also maintain long lists of previous employers for graduates. This could help you make a school decision, but these lists are out there (whether you attend that university or not) and help you find companies that sponsor H-1B visas.
- Large corporations, like Amazon, Dell and McKinsey, have structured graduate degree hiring programmes from top schools around the USA. They employ hundreds of international grads annually and will sponsor H-1B visas for top talent.
Above all, remember to engage with your school’s career and international offices - even if you think it’s too late in the process or you’re already on your OPT, to find out about companies that hire OPT students.
Check out the H-1B visa sponsors database
It’s no secret that websites are listing H-1B sponsoring companies.
This information is public information as US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), approves all H-1B visas and maintains records on where these visa holders work.
Feel free to browse their website, where you’ll find information on approvals - sortable by the type of degree and salary bands.
Looking for alternative H-1B visa sponsors databases?
The USCIS database is a great place to start, but you’ll notice that the most prominent IT employers often apply for H-1B visas to hire international employees without graduate degrees.
If you’re an international graduate from a top American school, you’ll need something with a little more depth. There are several public H-1B visa sponsors databases, and you’re likely to find one that allows you to filter by city, occupation, job title and more to be the most useful for your searches.
TIP: Companies that sponsor international students, such as Google, Deloitte, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, all appear in the top 25 companies that sponsor H-1B visas and heavily recruit top graduate US institutions.
If you’re interested in working with one of these companies, you might be able to skip the H-1B visa sponsors database search altogether. And, they’ll all help with the H-1B visa application and, most of the time, involve their lawyers.
Use or grow your network to find H-1B employers
If you’ve been working towards your MBA, you know there’s nothing like networking, networking, networking to connect with companies that sponsor H-1B visas. While there isn’t as much emphasis placed on MS degree applicants to grow their network, a list of growing personal contacts will always make a difference to your H-1B sponsorship and future career.
Top tips for using your network to secure an H-1B employer:
- Almost everyone doing a graduate degree from a US school has family or a friend who has previously studied in the US. Ask them questions about companies that sponsor H-1B visas. They’ll share their personal experience and will most likely connect you to other people with similar situations - and, hopefully, suggestions and solutions.
- Begin with a simple Google search. You’ll often find a list of companies that sponsor international students, forums, as well as legal firms specialising in immigration law (sometimes with a list of their clients), and there are job portals focused on H-1B visas. Once you find a company that interests you, use your LinkedIn account to see if you know anyone that can connect you with them.
- Make the most of the alumni associations and other networking groups to see how they can help you with information about companies that sponsor H-1B visas. Even Prodigy Finance maintains lists of happy clients to share their experience of studying in the US, graduating, and getting a job. You can also chat one-on-one with our Ambassadors to get advice on H-1B sponsors.
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