Work In The USA: No H-1B Left… So What?


The American H-1B visa, while it could be a key fuel for the U.S. economy (because it’s exactly about the immigration of high-skilled workers), is notoriously so badly set up that a lot of high-skilled workers and the American companies that badly needs them just give up trying to connect together.

And yet, many others find a job and immigrate all year long to work in many other American companies. By stealing so much media attention, the infamous H-1B makes many people forget that there are many other kinds of employment-based visas in the U.S..

Note that this article is not trying to be exhaustive about the pros and cons of each U.S. employment-based temporary visa, but merely attempts to give an overview of possibilities. If you’d like to know which U.S. visa would apply the most greatly to your case, the best thing to do is to get in touch with us, and tell us your story.

The J-1 visa

Often thought to be designed for interns only, the J-1 visa’s intention is rather to promote “cultural exchange” through training, which makes a lot of non-intern jobs qualify. It is an especially attractive visa for smaller companies, who need the applicant to start as quickly as possible.

There are many ways to get your training plan validated by the USCIS (the U.S. immigration office), and most people simply use organizations that are authorized by the government to set up J-1-based exchanges. The best thing about this visa? Once you’ve gathered all of the information you need, you can actually get it validated in… 1 day!

The O-1 visa

Often thought to be only for Nobel prizes, the visa for “individuals with extraordinary abilities” is actually accessible to much, much more people than that! One of TechMeAbroad’s founders has had one in the past, and as you can guess, none of us has any Nobel prize!

To get the O-1, the candidate will need to build a pretty impressive career by the USCIS standards: awards, publications, conference talks, association membership, … But as it turns out, even if the candidate is not eligible right now, it’s not amazingly hard for them to become eligible, by pursuing the proper kind of experiences. This applies really well to tech, where there are many awards given at hackathons, conferences open to newcomers, associations to join, …

Working towards that visa can take from a few months to a few years of continuous work, but the results are very compelling: not only will you have made sure to secure a pretty comfortable visa (there are no quotas at all on O-1 visas), but your career also just got a huge boost!

(Stay tuned to our blog for more information coming about what to do to build a O-1 case, but meanwhile, you can also read how Paul Duan, Bayes Impact’s founder, did it for himself.)


The L-1 visa

If the U.S. company has a branch in a country where the candidate is allowed to work, then they can agree for the candidate to work remotely there for 12 months (usually containing travels to the U.S. every few weeks). After 12 months, they are allowed to apply for an “internal transfer” visa into the U.S.

The E-2 visa

A company funded through an investment of money coming from one of these countries (there are currently 80) can hire a citizen from that same country through a E-2 visa. On TechMeAbroad, when a company is eligible to send candidates on E-2 visas, their offers will carry a “E-2” tile, with the required citizenship of the candidate right next to it.

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The limited-citizenship TN, E3, H1B1 visas

Some special U.S. visas exist for citizens of a handful of countries with which the U.S. has special agreements. If you have a Mexican, Canadian, Australian, Chilean or Singaporean citizenship, you’re in luck!

So what next?

Recruiters: you shouldn’t wait any longer to post your job offers; once you’ve met the perfect fit, wherever in the world that fit may be right now, then it will be the perfect time to worry about what visa will get your candidate to come over, and get in touch with us or with your usual immigration attorney.

Jobseekers: you shouldn’t wait any longer to apply to jobs! U.S. employers will usually want to know you and assess you before talking anything about visas; and then, if the fit is great, they will use their immigration attorney to see how best to get that done.

How about a little cup of something else?

Even though there are many routes to employment-based immigration in the U.S., the path is still not as straightforward as it should be at all, considering the value high-skilled workers are known to bring to an economy.

We’ve found out that most TechMeAbroad users apply to offers from more than one country, and we commend them for that: multiplying your chances by putting your eggs in different baskets is a very smart move, and there are many other amazing experiences to live, everywhere around the world. Check them out now on our job listing!

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