No H1 For You!

Today I answered the following concern:

“My company just today told me they will not be filing for H-1B this year for me. My STEM OPT expires in Jun-2018. I will have to find another job in time for filing H-1B now.”


It’s disappointing learn at the last minute that an employer declines to file your H1B petition, particularly after what was presumably loyal service through one’s STEM OPT, which can last up to three years. In the IT industry at least, this is a lifetime!

It reminds me of the Soup Nazi episode from Seinfeld. Customers at a New York soup cafe would stand dutifully in line, but one error in store protocol would result in them being thrown out of the store. The owner would yell, “No soup for you!”

In Seinfeld, dejected soup customers could find lunch elsewhere, no doubt a disappointingly substandard lunch to the amazing soup they hope for. Nonetheless, their palate would be sated. When an employer repays dutiful employment during your limited OPT period with ‘sianara’, it feels very much like the Soup Nazi saying “No H1 for you!” Quite understandably, a foreign student who has worked and invested much is concerned about their future. You might even have a wife and/or kids who depend on the fruits of your work. This is especially true for Indian and Chinese students who are not eligible for future green cards, even if no American is available to fill the employment, for at least 10 years!

When this happens, can we all agree it’s important to at least understand all one’s options? Here are a couple considerations:

First, H1B’s are for work beginning Oct 1. Second, multiple employers can petition for you. As a result, it’s not technically required to work for an employer in order for them to file for you. Practically speaking, however, most would want that to know your work quality. But when in a time crunch such as yours, it’s good to understand all options.

P.S. All potential H1B employees should have a back up plan regardless. The approximate 1/3 chance of a petitioner even being chosen for consideration, combined with high denial rates among consultancies, AND looming Trump administration reforms—makes it crucial for all foreign students to create a sound immigration road map with multiple potential routes to residency. No foreign national’s experience is exactly the same, so planning for contingencies makes sense—even essential—if the desire is to remain in the U.S. Consider a proactive immigration consultation with a U.S. immigration attorney licensed in one or more of the 50 states, not just to answer your current concern, but to help plan your immigration life.


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