Wednesday, 30 October 2013

CheckList - Do's and Dont's !

Apply H1B Visa Documents CheckList ? Cost ? What NOT to give ?

Very important. What you should NOT give to H1B sponsoring company?Checklist of documents required for applying H1B :
  • Copy of all educational certificates of your Bachelors (also Masters if applicable) degree including mark sheets.
  • Copy of Degree award certificates
  • Copy of Passport- all pages
  • If degree from US, Transcript and degree award certificate.
  • If degree from US, Copy of I-20
  • If you are in US, copy of I-94
  • Copy of latest Resume.
  • Work experience certificates (if any )
  • If you already have a H1B approval, copy of previous H1B approval notice, I-797 form.
  • If you are transferring H1B, copy of recent 3 months paystubs from your previous employer
  • If you have any evaluation reports from work, copy of them too.
  • If you have lived in US and paid taxes, copy of previous W2 tax forms.
  • If you have lived in US, copy of your driving license or state ID
  • If you have lived in US and have SSN, copy of your Social Security Card.
  • If you have done education evaluation, copy of the education evaluations too.
Base filing fee$325
AICWA Fee
(American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998)
$750  ( For employers with 1 to 25)
$1,500 ( For employers with 26 or    more full time equivalent employee )
Fraud prevent & detection fee$500
Fee based on Public Law 111 – 230
Read H1B fee $2000 rule to check if it applies to your case
$2000
Premium processing fee$1,225 (If you intend to do premium)



How much does filing H1B really Cost?
Applying for H1B visa could be a very lengthy process and could be very tricky. There are many people back in India that can ask you for stuff you do not need and lock them with you. I will try to explain documents needed, exact cost and what you should not do in this article.
Consultancies sometimes trick you if you do not know the process. They ask you for original certificates, passport and all other originals. You should NEVER give original documents of mark sheets, passport or any other documents to anyone.Promise me, you will NEVER give any originals!  You will need to carry the originals when you go for visa stamping, but not for applying.  Most of the times, USCIS will not ask for originals. There are always some exceptions and if they ask, please ask your H1B filing consultant to show you exactly what they got from USCIS and then only submit if needed.   If you give the originals, you are stuck with the employer who filed. DO NOT give any originals.
This is a very high level checklist for applying for H1B. There may be some exceptions, but for the most part, here is what you need :
Many of the consultancies tell fake stories and may trick you asking for huge sums of money. But, here is the blatant truth of how much does it actually cost.
You should check USCIS website for correct H1B filing fee, as they revise fee every year or 6 months.
The above details are exactly taken from USCIS website listing Hints for filing H1B-Cap Case You can check USICS for additional info and more details. USCIS: Frequent errors on H1B filing where USCIS have to deny or reject the petition.
Attorney fee is something that employer will incur and may be charged. It can be anywhere from $400 to $800. It all depends on the attorney.  All in all, you should not be tricked by too much fee asked by employer filing for H1B. In fact, as an employee you should not pay any fee for H1B petition it is your prospective employers responsibility to pay for the expense for H1B filing…
Overall, do NOT be tricked by your H1B filing consultancy. Think, ask and then act accordingly!

Recommended Posts:

  1. H1B Visa Plan for 2014 - 2015      
  2. How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?   
  3. Things Need to Check about the Sponsor  
  4. Choosing the right Sponsor   
  5. Negotiation is All That Matters  
  6. CheckList - Do's and Dont's !  




Negotiation is All That Matters

Significant number of students who graduate with a degree in US tend to go to Desi consulting companies for jobs. Fresh graduates go to them with a hope to get trained and get placed in a good company and make some decent money. There are many things to consider and one of the major things students overlook and compromise on is Salary and Benefits.  Students perception is  ” I first need a break and a job and then after I settle down, I can make good deal with Employers “. But, this is VERY MUCH not true. YOU LOSE a lot if you do not negotiate up front. Employers just use the vulnerability of students and make a LOT OF MONEY. Some of them are reasonable and some are VERY GREEDY. So, the idea is, you make a good decision first hand.  This article is part of the series : Everything from – How to find H1B sponsor to How to find H1B Jobs in Consulting
Sample Good  Pay and Benefit  deals  :
There are two concepts, once is Salary for an year and Percentage based on project.
If   “the employer applies for students’s H1B visa, trains you and supports you with lodging and boarding until you get a job ” and the employer size is big around 200 people in company. On a percentage basis, yu can ask for 70 to 30 % ratio. It means, you get 70% of the billing rate and 30 % goes to employer. This is a good deal because if you are working for a big company, the chance of having layers before client are less. So, your employer will have good billing rate. Again, you have to trust your employer and it is your call. Some are good and some are not trustworthy. Most of them are not trustworthy. There is at least 10% money just not showed to you.
Similar to above, the company trains you and takes care of you. If they do not do percentage and only Salary per annum, yu can ask to start with $75,000 per year with Full benefits of Health insurance and 401k . The deal is after one year, he gives a hike to $80,000.  There is a catch here, it depends on the technology. Sometime people in hot technologies can do better and in old technologies do not do better. So, it is relative.
If the employer is small, lets say under 50 members, You should ask for 80 – 20percentage basis. Means you get 80% of the billing rate.  Because, it is a small company, the idea that the guy will have direct vendors or clients is very less and there are more layers, so your employer gets less money and you better get more. Also, it is not a good idea to go on salary basis for small employer as he cannot afford to do rotation of money. Again, it depends.
One golden rule, go to company with some reference. I mean to say is talk to someone who works in that company and ask them details. The guy you talk to should not be relative or any way related to company. He should not tell you some crap because be gets a bonus.
There are many factors, you have to negotiate accordingly, but on the baseline above are some common percentage and salary. It varies with experience and technology.
Overall, the point is YOU HAVE to talk to employer  in the beginning and clarify the Salary and benefits. Because, if you do not and get into a LONGTERM project, you lose money. Employers are very intelligent, they say we will give you a hike after First project and if you are lucky and get a good project that runs long, you are stuck…so, think about it.
I will do some post about consulting companies later…post a comment if you need specific help !

Recommended Posts:
  1. H1B Visa Plan for 2014 - 2015      
  2. How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?   
  3. Things Need to Check about the Sponsor  
  4. Choosing the right Sponsor   
  5. Negotiation is All That Matters  
  6. CheckList - Do's and Dont's !  

Things Need to Check about the Sponsor

Once you decide the company to join after looking at all the criteria,  you have to ask these questions to your employer before you commit. 

Will the company  pay for the H1B Visa fee upfront ?
The Company sometimes, especially these days,  do not pay upfront for the visa because of their past experiences  where many students have left the company right away even they get H1B.  In fact, a person can apply H1B visa at 6 places. So, the company.

Will the company do / pay for premium processing ?
This might not be an issue if you are coming from India or applying as a student being on OPT. But, if you are transferring from another company or if you want to get decision quicker from INS, then you might be interested. It costs you around $1000 more, check if you company pays for it. Some big companies do not have the policy of premium processing.

Will the company give boarding and lodging?
If you are either coming from India on H1B or a student, you need boarding and lodging. Most companies provide this. Some big companies do not do this, It is very important the consulting company provide this and it will help you save money and keep expenses minimum until you find job.

Will the company train you on the technology you are interested ?
If you are a student, you NEED training to succeed.  If you are experienced and coming from India, then you might not. But, ideally ask if the company does training on the technology you are interested it. Check if they have enough systems and people to train you.

Will the company pay for Health Insurance ?
If you are working on a salary basis, the company has to pay for health insurance completely. A good insurance costs around $250 to $300 per month.  On the other hand, if you are on percentage basis, company does not pay anything. Some of them do give you like $50 or so. Verify if they do good insurance and may be dental and vision too

Will the company give hike after working for 6 months ?
This is very important to clarify at the beginning. Check this for more on negotiation on salary. The company has to give you a hike after 6 months or first project. Be careful, if they say after first project and your project goes for more than 6 months, you have to ask them if they do the hike. Many end up losing money if you do not negotiate upfront. It could be a hike in salary or may be hike in percentage.

Does the company provide you boarding and lodging when you are on Bench ?
If you do not know, bench means – not working.   The point is if you are very early in your career and do not have enough contacts or enough money, you need boarding and lodging when you are between projects. Many big companies do not do this anymore with economy and stuff. But some companies do provide boarding and lodging when you are between projects. This will save you money. So, it is a good thing you have to ask for.

Does the company do Green Card? If so when do they start?
If you plan to stay here after 6 years in US, you need Green Card. Check if the company does this. Ask them when do they typically start the process. The sooner the better for you. Ideally 6 months to 1 year they do the process.

Do they pay for Green Card process ?
Check if the company pay for your green card processing. If you are on salary they do. If you are on percentage you probably have to. Clarify this ahead of time.

How often does the company Pay ? Do they hold money ?
Check if they pay every 15 days or 30 days or do they pay after the client pays them.  If they say, they will pay after client pays them. It is around 6o days or 2 months before the client pays them. You have to be careful, they might not pay you money properly. They lock your money and if you want to transfer for some reason, you are stuck. Imagine if you make $10,000 a month, then it is around $20,000 they are holding.  You have to clarify how much of your money the company usually holds.  You have to ask them to pay irrespective of client pays or not.

Ask if the company gives you better percentage if you look your own project?
Usually, if you are working on percentage basis, the company pays you around  3-5% more than what you usually get if you find project on your own. Clarify, some of them do not do this. It is bad deal if they do not give you more percentage. Because, it is your hard work and you better get rewarded. If you are on salary basis, it doesn’t make much difference. But, you can always negotiate.

Recommended Posts:
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  2. How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?   
  3. Things Need to Check about the Sponsor  
  4. Choosing the right Sponsor   
  5. Negotiation is All That Matters  
  6. CheckList - Do's and Dont's !  

Choosing the right Sponsor

Despite the impact of recession and lowest filing of H1B cases in 2010, there is lot of anticipation and hope in many of us to come to USA and work here or if you are on F1 visa, you plan to apply for H1B visa. There might be lot of people in USA in different kinds of visas like L1 visa, L2 Visa, F2 Visa, etc planning on applying for H1B visa petition in this year. If you plan to apply for work visa this year, you need to straighten out few things and be well prepared for the first day of applying which is typically April 1st. I plan on writing a series of articles related to H1B visa filing in 2011. This article I will try to focus on the list of the things you need to verify before you choose employer for sponsoring your visa.
Check the H1B fraud / debarred companies :
In light of recession, many fraudulent consulting companies were exposed with strict checking and compliance by the USCIS and ICE. In fact, all these consulting companies were doing a lot of things illegal and with recession they could not sustain. As always similar to ponzi scheme, these fraudulent companies were busted and charged guilty. One of these was “11 people arrested from Vision Systems Group, inc a NJ based company for Multi-state Operation targeting visa and Mail Fraud”. You should verify the list of companies that were involved with any of these kinds of things. You should talk to other people and verify about the list of  consulting companies you have in your mind about their authenticity and good will. Check this post about list of H1B Debarred companies. Your goal is to make sure you are in no way trapped by any of these employer’s related companies and get in trouble.
Create a list of H1B Sponsoring Companies :
It is not as simple as it sounds to come up with a list. Coming up with this list is the key thing. You will have to consider many things before you choose a company. I have written an article exclusively on How to choose your employer for Sponsoring H1B visa. You should read this article before you create this list. The goal is to come up a good list!
Check the Size of the company, How may visas were approved, Denied for that company:
You have the list, your goal is to validate and come up with valid reasoning on how to rank them based on some statistics. Statistics are very critical for applying visa. All the crucial information you need to know about any company that is sponsoring H1B visa is available to public. Details including the wage they filed petition for, petition denials, green cards, perms, etc. Rules of thumb, if the company has a bad record, do not go with the company. Sometimes, due to wrong filing companies like Microsoft also might have denials; it is your discretion when you see this in major companies. Applying H1B carefully by attorney in your area of study and work is very important. Overall, look for the key statistics. One of the websites that is very good for this kind of info is www.myvisajobs.com . There is some info that is premium, but you can get the basic info for free (It used to be completely free couple years ago). You get enough information for free and do not need premium.
Here is a step by step process for companies statistics :
  • click on the link : http://myvisajobs.com/H1B_Visa.aspx
  • Search by employer or by zip code.
  • Verify the company name and click on Visa Rank
  • Visa Rank has all the key info you need
Check screenshots for more info.
my visa jobs screenshot
my visa jobs screenshot
my visa jobs screenshot
Verify Company Policies and Ethics from valid source.
Based on the data in previous steps, you may eliminate few companies. Once you have the final list, you should find someone who work in these companies and ask them few details about the company like :
  • Do they pay on time
  • When do they do green card
  • What are the company’s ethics
  • When do they give increment
  • Do they pay insurance
  • If you are on bench, will they support you.
It might sound difficult, but honestly you just have to talk to people. Some of the info may  also available online in websites, but not reliable. You may check Websites for reviews of H1B Sponsoring Consultancies in USA. Desi Consultancies /IT Consultants. There might be only people complaining about the companies in these websites, but good to know any kind of information. Pick the one with less bad remarks.
Well, all the stuff you have looked so far is the Homework or prep work for choosing an employer. If you are planning on applying for H1B visa for 2011, you should start doing research on the consulting companies NOW !   Remember, if you choose a bad employer, consequences can be bad….lets say if he cheats you 10$ an hour, you lose $20,000 per year. If he does not do your green card, you may have to leave country….So, worth your time !

Recommended Posts:
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  2. How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?   
  3. Things Need to Check about the Sponsor  
  4. Choosing the right Sponsor   
  5. Negotiation is All That Matters  
  6. CheckList - Do's and Dont's !  

How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?

Some of you might be planning to apply for H1B visa for this fiscal year of 2014.  USCIS, just like it has done in previous years, will most likely accept H1B Visa 2014 Petitions starting of April 1st.  Depending on your current situation/ status you could have questions like below in your mind.
  • How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?
  • I am student and completing MS in US, How to get a H1B Visa sponsoring company for 2014 ?
  • I am on H4 visa in America. I would like to work on H1B Visa, How do I find a sponsor ?
  • How to search for H1B Visa 2014 sponsors from India ?
  • I am in US on L1 Visa. I want to move to H1B Visa. How to find 2014 sponsors ?
  • How to get full list of H1B Visa 2014 sponsoring companies in USA ?
  • How to avoid fraudulent companies that say that they sponsor H1B visa ?
Many such questions…Let me help you explain the various options to find H1B Sponsoring companies for fiscal year 2014.
Different options to get H1B visa sponsorship and find companies
There are multiple ways to find a H1B Visa sponsor. Below are some of the various options available based on your network, reach, and capability.
  • H1B  Visa Sponsoring companies Database
  • Global IT Services Companies  TCS, Infosys, CTS, Wipro, etc.
  • Internship – Progression to H1B Visa Sponsorship
  • Consulting Companies in America – Fraud ?
  • H1B Sponsorship through American Universities
Let us take a quick peek at various options in detail.,
H1B Visa 2014 Sponsors  Database :
This is probably the most direct and random way to find a H1B Visa sponsors.  US Labor department publishes all the LCAs information quarterly indicating the list of H1B Sponsors. For latest data, you need to check out the Dept. of labor website : Depart of Labor LCA Data or for archive data you need to check out  website related to FLC Data Center LCA  . The bad part with both of these options is that the data these US Govt. websites publish is in the form on MS Access database or large .txt files with lot of information hard to read .  So, there are websites like MyVisaJobs that have used this Database and published information in a more presentable format. Anyways, that database would have contact information of the exact companies that sponsored H1B visas. You can directly reach out to them by figuring out the companies that fit your requirement.  Honestly, it may not work out very well…But, just an option to at least prepare the list of companies that you need to target to find H1B visa 2014 sponsorship.
Global IT Services Companies TCS, Infosys, CTS, Wipro, etc.
Global IT Services companies like TCS, Infy, CTS, etc.  strategy is to primarily to recruit international students/ professionals and sponsor H1B Visas to them to make them work in America. These companies either sponsor visas to professionals in India with experience or recruit talent in US.  The crux of the issue is to network and find out the requirements in such companies and get their sponsorship for this 2014 fiscal year.  It requires little bit of homework, but it works…These companies are always looking for students/ professionals with experience in certain fields.  They may not give you lucrative salaries, but you will get sponsorship.  If you are not in such companies, try out options, it could potentially work, talk to the hiring managers.  I have known friends who shifted companies  just because they would sponsor H1B visa to work in America and they are in US now.
Internships/ Co-op – Progression to H1B Visa Sponsorship :
If you are in the last semester doing MS or MBA, you can take up OPT / CPT and take up internship or co-op in a company that can potentially sponsor H1B Visa. The trick to this is to find and join a company that does your H1B visa. You can use DOL database ( the one I mentioned above)  to find the list of companies.  Many companies may not even have heard of the visa like H1B Visa. You need to be careful and make conscious decision at the time of internship or co-op. This may not be an issue in large cities in America, where there is startup community and lot of internationals. But, you have to be careful.
Consulting Companies in America – Fraud ?
Until the changes to H1B Visa rules in 2011, consulting companies were the major source of H1B Visa sponsorship. Due to all the abuse of the H1B Program by some of the consulting companies, USCIS introduced lot of changes to H1B visa guidelines to avoid fraud.  With the changes, a good number of H1B fraud companies have been barred from sponsoring H1B Visas.  So, there are still a good number of consulting companies that are run properly that can help you get sponsorship. Again, to find such companies, you need to do thorough analysis regarding the company and personally know someone in the company to avoid fraud. There are quite a few fraud companies that take money from you luring H1B visa and just cheat you.  DOL states that you should not pay the H1B fee, so you should never be charged for it.  So, be careful to avoid fraud.   All in all, be careful and do your due-diligence before you commit to any consulting companies for your 2014 h1b visa sponsorship.   Your best bet is to network with your colleagues or friends and know more about companies.
H1B Sponsorship through American Universities
Many of the academic institutions sponsor H1B visas to internationals either based on academic merit or experience.  In fact, you are not counted towards the H1B Visa cap for getting visa sponsorship.  The only catch is that you cannot transfer your H1B visa to other company once you get H1B visa as it was not counted towards H1B cap. You can only transfer to an academic or research institution.   In any case, seeking H1B sponsorship from an academic institution is definitely a good option for someone on H4 Visa or F1 visa students. I have seen my friend’s wife get a H1B visa sponsorship as she did volunteering at a research lab for some time, as she had the skills they wanted.
All the above mentioned options are some of the ways you can find a H1B Visa sponsor for this 2014 fiscal year and get sponsorship.  You should talk to more people and network to get more information and options regarding companies.  Always, networking will help… Do NOT be fooled by fraudulent consulting companies. Just watch for what they ask and what they say. You can validate them very easily and avoid fraud. Good Luck !

Recommended Posts:
  1. H1B Visa Plan for 2014 - 2015      
  2. How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?   
  3. Things Need to Check about the Sponsor  
  4. Choosing the right Sponsor   
  5. Negotiation is All That Matters  
  6. CheckList - Do's and Dont's !  

H1B Visa Plan for 2014 - 2015

We are about 2 months away for the H1B Visa 2014-2015 season to start. Many of you might have the dream to work in America on a visa. Although, there are a variety of visas available to work in America, H1B Visa is one of the most popular visas that are utilized by highly skilled international students and professionals. If you are planning to apply for H1B Visa for this fiscal year 2014-2015, it is good to do some homework and be prepared. As like in previous years, let me share with you all a Sample Plan for applying H1B Visa for FY 2014-2015, with detail list of tasks.
Sample H1B Visa 2014-2015 Plan – Checklist of tasks
Some activities have to be carried in parallel. Just pay attention to the dates.
Month, Week  in 2014Description of H1B Activity to be completed
Jan 1st week  – Feb 2nd weekSearch and collect information on H1B Visa sponsoring companies.  You need to prepare a high level list of companies that have the potential.  Read the article : How to Find H1B Visa 2014 Sponsors
Feb 3rd Week – Feb Last week. Due diligence on the H1B Visa Sponsoring companies list that you prepared.  You need to drill into details like LCAs filed, Approvals, Denials, etc.  Read the article : Things to verify before you choose H1B Sponsor.
Feb 3rd Week – Feb Last weekCollect all the documents required to file the H1B Visa petition for this fiscal year 2014.  You will need to gather documents like Experience letters, copies of degrees, requesting transcripts, etc.Read article:  H1B Visa Petition Filing Check list. 
Feb 3rd Week   – Feb Last weekDiscussion with H1B Sponsoring Companies. You need to talk to the companies and get the final offer letters  released. Make sure you negotiate  with the employers properly . Read below articles
Feb Last Week. By Feb 28th, you need to have a H1B Sponsoring company picked to file your petition.  Just put down all the companies list in an excel and rate them on factors like offer, benefits, trust, etc.  Talk to someone in the company, like an acquaintance or friend,  before you commit to the decision.
March 1st week.  Talk to the employer that you have chosen and get in touch with the attorney to get a list of the documents they require. You need to be careful on what you give.  DO NOT give any original documents.  Read article on What NOT to give to H1B Employer to file petition.
March 1st week.Send out all the documents to your employer. You only need to give copies of documents, no need of any originals.   Your employer should have the documents by end of first week.
March 1st weekYou need to check with your H1B 2014 petitioner , if they need any more documents to file the LCA. They would not need anything. But, make sure they have filed your LCA on time.
March 2nd, 3rd WeeksCheck with your employer  and attorney, if everything is on track for filing the H1B Visa petition for this fiscal year.  They would be dealing with so many H1B cases, just make sure yours is in line as well.  Your Job is technically done, just need to follow up.
March Last weekThis is employer’s task.  The  H1B sponsoring company would work with  mail delivery companies like FedEx, UPS, USPS , etc have the H1B petitions delivered exactly on Monday April 1st, 2014
Feel like anything missed ? Need any further information... Feel free to comment here...

Share your thoughts on your experience planning for H1B Visa filing.

Recommended Posts:
  1. H1B Visa Plan for 2014 - 2015      
  2. How to find H1B Visa 2014 sponsors ?   
  3. Things Need to Check about the Sponsor  
  4. Choosing the right Sponsor   
  5. Negotiation is All That Matters  
  6. CheckList - Do's and Dont's !  

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Discalimer!

Details posted related to H1B Visa Sponsoring to USA for the year 2014 were collected from multiple resources like redbus2us, immihelp, helpfindh1bCompany, etc., All the contents are collected from various websites and posted here to have all the details regarding H1B Sponsoring for 2014 in a single place.