International students requiring visa sponsorship should research United States employers and job opportunities well in advance. H-1B visa sponsorship program is designed to facilitate the hiring of skilled professionals in specialty occupations. For this reason, we recommend building technical skills that are high in demand to be a competitive applicant.
Job Search for International Students
- It’s best to begin searching for a job at least six to nine months prior to graduation, and you should plan on setting aside three hours a week for the process.
- Every student’s situation is different. Make sure to consult with ISSS (International Students and Scholar Services) to discuss your employment plans, work authorization, visa information, OPT/CPT process, and immigration regulations.
- Be knowledgeable about your current visa status and about the H-1B visa process. Most organizations lack the resources and/or legal knowledge required to navigate the complicated visa sponsorship process. It is therefore crucial that you can clearly and confidently communicate this process to them.
- Research the employers and the positions who have provided H-1B visa sponsorship in the past.
Commonly Asked Questions
When in the hiring process should I disclose my employment status?
This is ultimately your decision to make, and there is no one correct answer to this question. Although it is illegal for a potential employer to ask about your race, nationality, native language, or immigration status, it is acceptable for them to ask whether you are authorized to work in the U.S. or whether you will now or in the future require sponsorship for an employment visa. It’s important to remember that your goal when applying to any position is to get past the initial screening of applications and get an interview. You can wait until employers bring up the subject but be sure to mention it by the end the interview.
If a job posting does not indicate whether the employer hires international students, should I still apply?
Often, employers may not have experience hiring international students. In these cases, it is your responsibility to educate the employers about the process of hiring an international student and sponsoring for an H-1B visa. However, be mindful that you still may not get the job. Unless the job posting specifically states that international applicants will not be considered, you should not exclude any organization from your target list.
How can I find U.S. Employers that hire international students?
It is appropriate to reach out directly to employers through LinkedIn for more information on how they may view international applicants. You should also network with fellow international students and alumni to gather valuable information on their previous employers and perspectives regarding their professional experiences.
- You can use GoinGlobal, an online tool accessible through Handshake with an H-1B section where international students can search for U.S. employers that hired international candidates in the past. In addition, GoinGlobal offers additional tools, including country guides for those searching for employers oversees, USA/Canada city guides for those searching for employment in the U.S. and Canada.
- My Visa Jobs provides free information on employers who have sponsored international candidates for H-1B visas (required for full-time post-graduate, post-CPT employment). The information is listed by Status, Career, Title, City, and Industry.
- You can use the U.S. Department of Labor H-1B Data for annual reports, which include top occupations for H-1B by state, top 10 employers sponsoring H-1B, and top occupation areas for permanent residency applications.