We created a Facebook group for international students to get help in the international student job search. Sometimes we share H-1B jobs or internships in the group. We share articles from this site and updates from LinkedIn contacts. We also answer questions about the international job search.

This week’s post is the answer to a question about companies who don’t sponsor international students.  It comes from an international student who’s curious about why companies don’t tell students that they don’t sponsor international students.

In the H1B job search there are three different companies:  1) companies that sponsor H1B, 2) companies that don’t sponsor international students, and 3) companies who won’t tell you they don’t sponsor H1B until the student gets to the end of interview.

Investing time and resources into a job only to find out at the end of an interview that they don’t sponsor is super frustrating. So we are thrilled to answer this question.


Why are a lot of American companies so uneasy about just telling you that they do not hire international students because they don’t sponsor? I think it is very frustrating that they do not tell you that from the beginning. 


As it always is with case with companies that hire international students and sponsor H1B: it’s complicated. The hiring process in general is filled with a lot of mystery. You may not know why a company hires you over another person. Add the fact that companies aren’t transparent about whether or not they sponsor, and it gets more complicated.

If you’ve ever interviewed with a company and been told at the end of the interview that you’re not selected because they don’t hire international students, these are a few reasons why.

The recruiter may not know if the position is eligible for H1B sponsorship

The person who you start the hiring process with is often a recruiter. They with may not know if the position is eligible for sponsorship. Keep in mind, sponsorship is determined by position. You may know that a company sponsors but it may not offer H1B sponsorship for the position you are applying to. That decision might be made by the hiring manager and not the recruiter. That makes it possible to go through the process without being told they don’t sponsor international students. We have met recruiters who have no idea about whether a position is open for H1B sponsorship. To prevent this from happening, ask the recruiter after you’ve been invited for an interview if they have a history of hiring international candidates.

They’re interested in you but worried about the risk

Hiring an international student is risky for companies. They worry you might not be selected in the H1B lottery. Some companies are less risk adverse than others. It’s going to depend on the company (obviously a company like Amazon, a company that hires the most international students, isn’t concerned about the risk). So a company may be interested in interviewing you but not sure they can take on the risk of hiring you. So they go through the process and change their mind or get nervous after you’ve already been through the interview process. This scenario just sucks. There is no way to prevent this.

You are a top candidate but there’s another good candidate who doesn’t require the H1B visa

You may have actually been what they are looking for but they found a better candidate in the interview process, and that candidate is easier to hire. Easier to hire means the candidate they are choosing doesn’t need to go through the visa and H1B lottery process. This is a situation that is out of your control, even if it is very frustrating.

You are a talented candidate and they don’t want to let you go

Employers are selfish, especially with talented candidates. They may not want to say no to you until they’ve gone through the entire process because they’re curious about you. It’s possible they were looking for ways to make it work but didn’t find a solution. One potential solution to this is to negotiate the opportunity to work on OPT (or OPT STEM), as a trial period. This is a good option for startups.

Any combination of the reasons above

IN truth the reason a company isn’t transparent about not sponsoring international students is because they don’t have to be. Companies are making a business decision to sponsor you. It’s not personal, even though it feels like it. In an ideal world companies would be kinder, more sensitive to people’s job needs. But it just doesn’t work like that.

This process repeats itself constantly for international students. And it’s not just for international students looking for jobs in the US. This happens in other countries too. The US just has a very challenging visa system that makes employers very nervous to hire international students. Keep trying, don’t get discouraged. If you are getting interviews, it’s a very good sign that you have the right skills, right resume, and are targeting the right job.

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