How to Find H1B Sponsorship Jobs
Before you can apply for the H-1B visa as a specialized worker, you must have a US sponsor and a qualifying job offer. There are several ways to find H1B sponsorship jobs to work in the USA.
The following guide for prospective H1B visa applicants looks at the ways in which non-US nationals can find a US sponsor, and H1B sponsorship jobs, to help expedite their move to the States.
Please note that as US immigration attorneys, we can support with the visa application process once you have secured an offer of employment. We are not able to help with finding US jobs or sponsorship, nor can we sponsor applicants.
What are H1B sponsorship jobs?
If you are at least a graduate-level worker looking to find a job in the US, the H1B visa may be the right work route for you. However, this is a sponsored route, which means that you will first need to find a US-based employer offering H1B sponsorship jobs.
H1B sponsorship jobs are those jobs based in the United States which meet the criteria for an H1B visa. This is a nonimmigrant visa designed to enable skilled workers from around the world to undertake a US job role within a speciality occupation that requires theoretical or technical expertise. However, to be eligible for an H1B visa, also commonly known as a speciality occupation visa, various occupation and applicant-specific criteria must be met. For H1B sponsorship jobs, as a minimum for entry, the occupation in question requires:
- the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialised knowledge, and
- the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent.
To qualify as a specialty occupation under the H1B route, the position on offer must also meet any one of the following criteria:
- a bachelor’s or higher degree, or the equivalent, is usually the minimum entry requirement for the position in question
- the degree requirement is common to the particular industry in parallel positions amongst similar organisations or, alternatively, the job is so complex or so unique that it can only be performed by a graduate level worker
- the US employer usually requires a degree, or the equivalent, for the position
- the nature of the specific duties to be undertaken is so specialised and so complex that the knowledge required to perform those duties is usually associated with having either a bachelor’s or higher degree.
Further, for an applicant to qualify to work within a specialty occupation, they must either:
- hold a US bachelor’s or higher degree, as required by the particular specialty occupation, from an accredited university or college
- hold a foreign degree equivalent to a US bachelor’s or higher degree, as required by the particular specialty occupation, from an accredited university or college
- hold either an unrestricted state licence, registration or certification that authorises them to fully practice the specialty occupation in question, and be immediately engaged in that particular specialty in the state of intended employment
- have either education, specialised training, and/or progressively responsible experience equivalent to the completion of a US bachelor’s or higher degree in the particular specialty occupation, and have recognition of expertise within that specialty through progressively responsible positions related to that specialty.
Is it difficult to get H1B sponsorship jobs?
To be able to obtain an H1B visa, the prospective applicant will first need to find, apply for and be offered a H1B sponsorship job role. This means that they must identify a US employer with suitable vacancies, and who is willing to sponsor foreign workers, who can petition for an H1B visa on their behalf. In turn, this means that the US sponsor must be able to offer a job in a speciality occupation requiring theoretical or technical expertise.
In theory, any graduate-level job that normally requires either a bachelor’s or higher degree as a minimum entry requirement can qualify as a specialty occupation. H1B sponsorship jobs can also include other jobs, but the nature of the specific duties required to be undertaken must be so specialised and complex that the knowledge needed to perform those duties is normally associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
Still, there are plenty of jobs available in the States that meet these criteria, provided the prospective H1B applicant is suitably qualified or experienced to apply. This means that, even if an applicant does not hold a bachelor’s or masters degree, if they can show degree equivalence through work experience or other qualifications, they should not face too many hurdles in applying for, and successfully securing, a suitable job to qualify for an H1B visa.
Who can sponsor H1B visa workers?
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that only US-based employers can sponsor non-citizens, where firms and companies who are having trouble filling roles in their business will often turn to sponsoring a nonimmigrant worker by way of an H1B visa.
To be able to sponsor H1B visas, a US-based employer must first submit what is known as a Labor Condition Application (LCA/Form ETA-9035E/9035) with the US Department of Labor (DOL) attesting to compliance with the following labor requirements:
- to pay the H1B worker a wage no less than the wage being paid to similarly qualified workers in the States or, if greater, the prevailing wage for the position within the geographic area in which the H1B worker will be working
- to provide working conditions that will not adversely affect the conditions of other similarly employed workers
- at the time of the application there is no strike and no lockout at the place of employment, and notice of the filing of the LCA with the DOL has been given to a union bargaining representative or posted at the place of employment.
LCAs must not be submitted any more than six months prior to the employment start date. An employer with a certified LCA can then go on to file with USCIS an H1B petition (Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) on the worker’s behalf, showing that the position that they are offering falls within a particular specialty occupation.
A specialty occupation essentially requires the use of highly specialised knowledge in order to successfully perform the duties of the role, and at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, in the specific specialty. H1B specialty occupations in the States can include fields such as education, IT, mathematics, law, accounting, architecture, engineering, the sciences, medicine, healthcare, biotechnology, business specialties, journalism and the arts.
Is it difficult to get an H1B visa?
Only once the labor certification has been received by USCIS, and the petition has been approved, can the prospective H1B visa applicant apply via the US Department of State at a US Embassy or Consulate using Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application).
To be granted an H1B visa, an overseas applicant must be undertaking a job for a US-based employer in a role that requires theoretical or technical expertise. However, it will be for USCIS to determine whether the employment on offer constitutes a specialty occupation, and whether or not the applicant is qualified to perform services within that occupation.
There is also an annual cap for H1B petitions, where there are only 65,000 visas available for H1B workers each fiscal year although, under the H1B advanced degree exemption, 20,000 other visas are reserved for applicants with master’s or higher degrees.
By applying for a job role with an experienced US sponsor, who has previously sponsored overseas workers in H1B sponsorship jobs, and is familiar with the petitioning process, this will help to ensure a smoother application process. An experienced employer will ensure that the petition is correctly completed, with the right evidence filed in support. This should include, where applicable, evidence of the beneficiary’s educational background and experience, including proof of any master’s or higher degree to ensure that USCIS treat the petition as exempt from the regular cap and falling within the master’s cap.
Once the H1 petition has been approved, USCIS will send the US sponsor Form I-797 (Notice of Action). Approval of a petition does not guarantee that an H1B prospective visa applicant will be issued with a visa. However, with the advice and assistance of a specialised lawyer, to help prepare the DS-160 and to gather the necessary documentation in support, and to prepare the applicant for attending an interview at their local US Embassy or Consulate, this will help to maximise the prospects of a successful outcome.
What is the best way to find H1B sponsorship jobs?
Finding H1B sponsorship jobs may seem like a challenging task for foreign nationals, but both small and large businesses across the United States offer thousands of H1B opportunities. Deciding which state to apply in, and whether it is best to apply for a large or small firm are possibly the more difficult decisions within this process.
There are several small US-based businesses that sponsor H1B visas, although these can be more difficult to connect with, where larger companies typically have established H1B programs for hiring foreign nationals. A larger company is also more likely to have the financial resources to pay for premium processing to speed up the petitioning process.
To make it easier for prospective applicants to start their job search, with both large and smaller employers alike, below we set out the best way to find H1B sponsorship jobs:
Search the H1B Employer Data Hub held by USCIS
The H1B Employer Data Hub is a useful H1B sponsor database providing relevant data from fiscal years 2009 to 2022. This data includes all employers who have submitted petitions to employ H1B nonimmigrant workers, with the initial decisions made by the USCIS, and whether petitions made by the employer were approved or denied.
When using this database, searches can be undertaken using various different search criteria, such as the fiscal year, employer name, state, city and zip code.
Create a list of US sponsors from the Employer Data Hub
A list of potential US sponsors held on the USCIS Employer Data Hub should be drawn up, based on the search criteria for the prospective H1B visa applicant, for example, large employers based only on the east coast of America in a particular profession. The employers can also be evaluated based on how many petitions they have filed and been approved.
Once an applicant has a list of firms and companies that they may be interested in working for, based on any evaluation undertaken, they can then search the respective websites for information on any H1B programs and current availability for H1B sponsorship jobs.
Create a list of possible job opportunities and start to apply
Once a prospective H1B applicant has created a list of possible job opportunities, they will need to establish the criteria for each job, assess if they are eligible and start to apply for those jobs. In particular, the applicant will need to show that they are uniquely qualified for the position in question because of their field of study and/or work experience.
How long do H1B sponsorship jobs last?
The length of any H1B sponsorship jobs will often depend on the need for a US-based employer to fill any gap in the domestic labour market. However, even though these types of jobs are only temporary, an H1B visa will usually be granted for a period of up to three years. Additionally, if an H1B visa holder continues to meet all the relevant conditions, this time period can be extended, although this will usually only be for a maximum of six years.
Under the portability provisions, it is also possible to change H1B sponsorship jobs whilst in the States, where anyone with H1B status will not be limited to a single employer, but can transfer their H1B status to a different employer and remain eligible. However, a fresh petition would need to be filed by the new employer prior to expiry of the worker’s existing status, with a qualifying job offer in place to initiate the H1B visa transfer process.
H1B sponsorship jobs FAQs
How do I get a job to sponsor H1B?
The best way to get H1B sponsorship jobs is to search the H1B Employer Data Hub held by USCIS. The data held includes all employers who have submitted petitions to employ H1B nonimmigrant workers between 2009 and 2022.
What companies can sponsor H1B visa?
Only American companies and other US-based employers can sponsor H1B visas. They must also first file a petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, where an oversees national can only apply for a visa once this petition has been approved.
Can a US company sponsor me?
A US company can sponsor a foreign worker for various different kinds of work visas, including the H1B visa. Known as the speciality occupation visa, you must be at least a graduate level worker to qualify for an H1B visa.
How do I get a US company to sponsor my visa?
Many large US companies run H1B visa programs in the States, where availability of H1B sponsorship jobs are often advertised on their websites. You could also contact a US company directly to see if sponsorship is possible.
How much does it cost for a US company to sponsor?
There are various costs associated with sponsorship. These can vary depending on the type of sponsored work visa being sought, but will include a $460 filing fee for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
Can I go to USA without a sponsor?
It is possible to travel to the USA without a sponsor, as there are various unsponsored work routes available. It may even be possible to travel to the States without a visa, although electronic travel authorisation will still be needed.
This post does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.