Do you dream of living in America? There are plenty of reasons to make the move: a high standard of living, increased status, and a better pay scale. Plus, there is a huge range of novel cultural experiences that can be had from coast to coast. It’s definitely a dream worth pursuing, but unless you plan to study in the USA, you’ll need to find a job in order to secure your visa. That won’t be easy, but we’ve collected some helpful tips to get you on the right path.
Choose the Right Visa for You
There are several types of visa for Indian citizens who intend to work in the United States.
If you hope to live in America indefinitely, your best bet is the H-1B visa, designed for skilled workers in specialized fields. To get this type of visa, you need an advanced educational degree and strong professional skills. Interestingly, this visa also covers working fashion models.
The H-2A visa is for people who want temporary agriculture-based work, such as seasonal farm workers. In this category, the U.S. employer is required to provide housing and meals for their employees, as well as pay for inbound and outbound transportation to the job site.
The H-2B visa is for temporary or unskilled workers who are looking for a non-agricultural position to last for a limited amount of time.
This is the intracompany transfer visa meant for workers who wish to transfer from their job in India to a role with the same company in America. The catch is that you must be an executive or manager in your current position to qualify.
Consider Your Professional Qualifications
The United States strongly prefers candidates with advanced professional qualifications, but not all degrees transfer directly. For example, doctors are highly sought in the USA, but an Indian medical degree does not qualify you to practice medicine there. An additional examination is often required to validate Indian degrees for work in the United States.
No matter your professional qualifications, think about whether you could improve them prior to applying for a visa. It is very important to distinguish yourself in order to rise to the top of the pack.
Find an Employer to Sponsor You
To get a visa you need to find an employer willing to sponsor you. Before you begin your job search, familiarize yourself with industries that are currently experiencing labor shortages; these are the companies that will be most grateful to find your application.
Right now in America, businesses are facing shortages in financial and business services, technology, media, telecommunications, and surprisingly, manufacturing. Teachers are also needed, and of course, doctors. Your chances of success are better if you can show superior skills in any of these industries.
If you are already an executive or manager for a company in India with an existing branch in the United States, you could potentially relocate with your current job rather than start over with a new job search. The visa that you’ll need for this is an L1, Intracompany Transfer.
Network with American Workers
To secure a job offer in the United States you will need to pass an interview process with the employer. You’ll be more successful at navigating this process if you reach out through social media to Americans who are currently working in your industry. You can ask questions about what employers are looking for and what they expect from their employees.
Networking through LinkedIn or another business-based platform can also help you understand how to format your resume and cover letter, which provide the critical first impression to your potential employer.
Please don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to build a positive network. In America’s current political culture, some workers are concerned about the (unlikely) possibility of Indians and other immigrants crowding them out of their own jobs.
Mark Your Calendar
Each visa has a different deadline for application. The H-1B selection season, for example, begins on April 1st of each year. Your application will need to be in by then to be considered for a visa in the next fiscal year starting October 1. In general, you can only apply for a visa within six months of the job start date, not earlier.
Some visas work on a lottery system, while others are strictly merit based. The deadlines can change with no warning, as can the specified limit to each type of visa issued per year. Know that it will take several months to more than a year to get approved or denied for work in the U.S.
It’s a complicated system, so you’ll need to have clearly marked out a timeline for yourself and regularly verify that you’re still on the right track as you work through the process.
Save Some Money
Applying for and receiving a visa to work in the United States can be expensive. In some cases, such as with the H-1B visa, the company that offers you a job will be liable for the fees. However, moving to a new country always involves significant start-up costs, from renting an apartment to securing reliable transportation. Of course, your flight will also be quite expensive. Start saving some money as soon as you decide to pursue your dream of working in America so that you don’t get stuck with a job offer but no way to accept it.
You can get more information and advice on job seeking in the United States on the Department of Immigration website. From professional requirements to advice on writing your resume and evaluating a job offer, all of your questions are addressed. This site is also invaluable in terms of understanding the specifications, deadlines, and fees for your visa of choice. Best of luck on your job search! The United States will be lucky to have your skills and passion.