The rumors around H1B changes have been around for months. Yesterday, we finally heard updated USCIS H1B news. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released their final decision on H1B changes.
First, here is what did not change. The H1B visa is still obtained through an employer. The H1B visa process will still be done through a lottery. There are still only 85,000 H1B visas available (excluding cap exempt H1B visas).
However, the order in which they process H1B visas has changed. Instead of having two lotteries, with one specific one for advanced degrees, they will have only one. USCIS predicts that the change will “increase the number of advanced-degree holders selected in the lottery by 16 percent, or 5,340 workers each year.”
H1B changes 2019: How they affect international students
The good news (if you’re a graduate student): You have a better chance of getting an H1B visa in the lottery.
The bad news: It’s still a lottery system which still makes employers nervous. Getting an H1B visa is still very much luck.
What stays the same: You still have to convince employers to sponsor you. That’s where the hard work is. The new H1B changes do not change that. It will still be just as hard to find companies that sponsor. It’s not impossible though.
As an international student in a new country, you have to learn how to job search. To get companies to sponsor you, must become the best candidate possible. It takes a lot of work.
Beyond H1B changes 2019: What to focus on now
Now that you know for certain about H1B changes, focus your attention on becoming the candidate that employers want to sponsor. The most in demand international students have:
Technical skills like data analytics, data science, data engineering and architecture, coding skills, software engineering, machine learning, etc.
Communication skills like relationship building, project and product management, and written communication skills.
A unique offer that helps the company do business better or solve an important problem.
Employers want to hire candidates who have a perfect combination of technical and communication skills. If you want to get sponsored, always ask yourself this question before applying: What do I offer the team and company that I want to join? When you know the answer, you’re ready to apply for the job.
Advice for the H1B Job Search
Finding companies that sponsor international students is only one small step. There’s much more to do. Use the resources below to make sure you’re learning all of the pieces to get a company to sponsor you in the US.
Create a strong American Style resume
Create a professional story so employers get to know you
Learn how to interview in the American culture.
Get practical experience outside of the classroom
Support for the H1B Job Search
We offer a lot of support for international students looking to work in the US.
- Join our Facebook group for international students
- Invite us to campus for a career workshop for international students
- Read the book: How to Get a Job in the US
- Take an online job search course for international students
Opportunities beyond the H1B Job Search
Since getting an H1B visa is part luck, there’s good reason to look at opportunities beyond H1B jobs.
For example, Canada has better visa process than the US. Canada is actively open for foreign tech workers.
There are also plenty of opportunities at international startups.
For serious job seekers who want to pursue a job outside the US, check out our webinar for a step by step discussion: How to Build an International Job Search Strategy