2. What should you ask the employer before you decide to join them ?

In Apply H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 52 Comments

This post is part of the series : Everything you need to know about How to get a Job & face interviews in US . 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.

If you any further questions, post a comment and I will try to reply….

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Comments ( 52 )

  1. rahul sinha

    Rahul sinha
    Hi ,

    I am working in India, Here my doubts is which visa type is subtitle for me for searching a job in USA and is there any companies sponsor to me for applying visa and searching a job in USA
    could you please give me clarification.

  2. rocky

    hi admin,
    rocky here. i am going to usa to attend business trade show, so i have b1 visa for 2 years. i have experience of 7 years in sales & Marketing in capital equipments. during my visit ( my first Question) can i search for a job in US Company of my field?

    if i get chance to attend an interview in US Company, and everything goes right & employer want me to join them (my Second Question) will i be able to file H1B there?? i will be thankful to you, if you tell me approx. time period of this process. or i need to come back to india and apply for H1B..

    ( my third Question) if employer want me to pay for h1b petition all charges against job, and i am ready for that also. what type of documents require from my side?

    i will be eagerly waiting for your reply.
    regards

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rocky,

      1. You are expected to perform activities limited to what is allowed for B-1. So you cannot actively search for jobs.
      2. Even if you are able to find an employer, H-1 cannot be filed until April 2017 as the cap is done for now.
      3. First of all, the charges need to be paid by the employer and not you. That’s the law. Documents required for H-1 include your degrees, marksheets, passport, resume, experience letters, education equivalency document etc

  3. jatin patel

    Hi I have completed MSC chemistry and I have an experience of 11 yrs in pharma industry. Recently I have received one offer from novartis pharma usa. So I want to know that is this offer is right or fake?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      jatin patel,

      Novartis is a big pharma company. It is difficult to tell whether the offer is fake or genuine. You will have to provide more details like interview process, email address used for communication, letter head used etc.

  4. AM

    Hi I may be going on H1 4 visa , I still have an option though.I am an MBA and have 2 years plus work experience. Is it impossible to find a job in US while I am on H4 or is there a fair chance? Any help is highly appreciated.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      AM,
      You can search for jobs on H-4, but you cannot work until you get your H-1. So you search for an employer while on H-4 and then he will file H-1 for you. If selected and approved, you can work.

  5. rohit

    Hi,

    Could you please answer my query on the quote –
    ‘ In fact, a person can apply H1B visa at 6 places. So, the company.’

    Does this mean that if I have job offers from 6 companies; I can apply for H1-B from all 6 companies? If this is the case; then its great because then I can undertake as many interviews as possible and get selected in 6 companies and apply through all of them. It will increase the chances of getting the visa selected in lottery. Could anyone please clarify if this is the case?

    Hoping for a reply.

    Thanks in advance
    Rohit

      1. rohit

        Thanks for the reply Saurabh,appreciate it .

        One follow up question that arises is — If my visa gets approved by 3 employers and I choose to join one of them; Can the rest two employers ask for me to reimburse the processing fees if after visa is approved? Does USCIS returns processing fees to the 2 employers whom I chose not join?

        Hoping for a reply.

        Thanks in advance
        Rohit

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Rohit,
          USCIS will not reimburse any fees unless the petition is not selected in the lottery.

          By law, filing fees need to be paid by the employer and not you. So they cannot demand that fees back.

  6. Yudir

    I have recieved an offer from CA based company and have paid the H1 visa fees ($190) for self and dependants (H4)
    Supposedly, the employer has filed my petition and has given me the receipts.

    Now he is asking me to pay part Insurance ($1200) based on what Homeland security has recommended . I have NOT yet got my H1B stamped, how can this be possible ? Iam on salary basis in USA and had agreed to pay part insurance from my salary for a comprehensive $20K cover.

  7. Kumar

    IS IT NECESSARY TO HAVE AN OFFER LETTER IN ORDER TO FILE A H1B??!

    My employer is filing my H1B this year, But not including any offer letter. He is filign as In-House employee without including any offer letter.
    Will this be a problem for my H1B? Can the employer file a H1B without an offer letter.? Please let me know.
    I will be applied in Masters quota- premium.

    1. Raveena

      I think one cannot file a visa without an offer letter unless you are filing it from your pocket.But if the employer is going to pay for you then what would be the proof that you are an employee of that company….Thats where offer letter comes!!!!!!

  8. Simi

    Hi,
    I have asked my company to apply for H1-B visa, but they say the quota is over and it cannot be applied till next year.
    I am not sure if this is true as I can see my company mates getting H1 visas and going to US for onsite work.

    I want to know about what is the H1-B visa quota, till when can I apply for H1-B visas and all other details regarding the dates when H1-B visas be applied.

    Also, I would like to know the same about L1 visas.

  9. Vijay

    Hi ,

    I am working in India, Here my doubts is which visa type is subtitle for me for searching a job in USA and is there any companies sponsor to me for applying visa and searching a job in USA
    could you please give me clarification.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vijay,
      There is no visa that allows you to go there and search for jobs. You need to have an employment visa like H-1 or L-1 in order to work inside US.

  10. Peter

    Hi ,

    I have two sponsors for H1B and one is charging money for this and another not. I don’t want to loose the opportunity of getting H1B. so going for both.But the one who is not charging upfront is asking 250000USD as a liquidated damage if in case I am not joining. Is that applicable or can I go for one Sponsor?

  11. Shalu

    Hi Saurabh,
    I am on H4 visa, I have got one sponsor, but I need to pay the visa fee. Should I go for it ?
    Is there any risk involved? How can I check the previous record of that staffing firm?
    Pls suggest…..

    1. kin

      Check with them if they will repay your amount if you do not make it in VISA interview? Atleast 50 %?. Check how many employees are currently working for the firm, if it less than 100, then chances are very less….

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      Shalu,
      You can ask them about their previous filing record, or check it online on FLCDataCenter. Also, legally the employer is supposed to pay for the fees. If you pay for it, then you are taking the entire financial risk and its all your loss even if the petition gets denied b/c of a reason related not to you but to employer/job.

  12. ashish

    hi,
    currently I am on L1 B visa to US, I want to switch over so as to if the some one could file an H1 visa for me. I would be leaving back to India in January… Is there a way I could give an interview now, and my H1 processing is done, after I reach India.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ashish,
      You can give interviews now, and have the company lined up to file H-1 in April 2013 while you are in India.

  13. Tarun

    Hello Kumar,

    Can anyone apply for H1B visa on his own or only the company for which he/she is working can apply on his/her behalf?
    Some student on F1 told me that one can’t apply for H1B after OPT on his own. I need your opinion on this. Please

    Also, Can anyone apply for H1B directly after graduation If they have a job offer from an employer/comapany? OR One should have to complete the OPT first?
    I seek your valuable advice on this.
    Thanks
    Best,
    Tarun

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Tarun,
      Only an employer can file for H-1. The H-1 can be applied even before the completion of OPT, and in some cases while the person is still pursuing course on F-1.

      1. Tarun

        Hello Saurabh,
        Thank you clearing my doubts. I appreciate your advice.
        Pay my regards to Kumar.
        Thank you
        Best,
        Tarun

  14. Tushar B. Tandel

    Hello sir,
    I am working in Cellular department (Field Maintenance Engineer, RF optimisation for both 2G & 3G) in BSNL since 3 years.
    I am interested to go for H1b job.
    Is there any chance for me in the same field in US or Canada.
    What is the minimum expenditure for 1 month for 1 person in Canada ?
    Please give reply,

  15. Sundar

    Hi,

    I am currently on my L1 and looking to change to H1B . Currently searching for one company to sponsor. As you had said most companies do not pay upfront for the visa . Does that mean I need to pay the whole amount from my pocket? In that case can you let me know how much will I be required to pay.

    Sundar

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sundar,
      Legally the employer is supposed to pay for H-1 fees. You can only bear the attorney fees and PP fees. H-1 cost is usually 2000-4000 USD (excluding PP and attorney fees) depending upon size and number of H-1, L-1 employees in the company.

      1. Sundar

        Thanks Saurabh..

        i have heard some consulting companies asks us to sponsor even the H-1 fees.( may be indirectly) . Is this a common trend or a very few companies do this.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Sundar,
          Usually the consulting companies do that, and they know that they are breaking the law by asking the beneficiary to pay for the fees.

  16. Rikardo Carvalio

    Hi,
    I just graduated in BS Computer Science and I don’t have work experience but only academic exp. Now I am looking for consultancy comp which train and place you the job, Also I am in OPT. One of them provides me 1st year $25/hr and 2nd year 30/hr but they promised me to file the H1B visa,,,, But in the contract they havent mentioned the sponsorship? Do you think this company is relaible? I am so confuse….Because I dont trust the people upfront. Please tell me some advice….
    Best Reegards
    Rik

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      I doubt if any company would put that in a contract that they would provide you H-1 sponsorship, as they might want to see your performance before spending 3-4K on you.

      You can still join the company on OPT, and see how reliable they are. Meanwhile you can continue your search for other companies. Remember, on OPT you can be unemployed for up to 90 days only (and this includes both initial OPT period and OPT extension). H-1 quota is still open, so you still have some time in hand to do a better employer search (i.e. if this company turns out not what you thought initially).

  17. Archana Singh

    Hi I am in US, currently on H4 visa. I have a SSN.
    I am talking to many consultants for H1B visa.
    Once my H1 is filed, when can i start working?
    Is it the case that I can start working once I see the petition is approved?
    Or, I need to wait till Oct 1st even though petition is approved?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You already have SSN. Was that due to prior H-1 or something else?

      If you already have been counted in the H-1 quota in the past, then you can start working immediately on the basis of COS approval (provided new employer files it as H-1 transfer). Otherwise, you will have to wait until 1st Oct 2011 or actual approval date (whichever is later).

  18. KSIS

    Hi,
    I have been offered a job in a consulting company in US.
    Following is the scenario :
    1. I have 13 years of exp. in SAP with a reputed multinational company.
    2. The offer letter does not contain the full package but only mentions a component of the full package as salary.When Asked why – It was mentioned
    to take care of USCIS Issues.
    3. There a seperate document which mentions of the break up of the full package into 2 parts : Salary ( as mentioned in the offer letter ) and Project Bonus.
    4. Also he is asking me to sign a terms and conditions document which mentions following broad level terms :
    1. Minimum time to serve : 30 months
    2. If any breach : 45$ X No. of days left for 30 months along with the Project Bonus needs to be repaid back by the employee.

    My questions are :
    1. What Salary should I expect at this level of experience
    2. Are his demands right.

    Rgds,
    KSIS

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You can go to glassdoor and look at salaries being offered for your role in other companies. For example, if Accenture or IBM also employ SAP consultants, then you can check their salary. You can also browse through related job postings (on dice, monster etc) to see what salary is being offered by the competitors.

      As for the terms, employment is at will in US. The employer or employee can terminate the relationship at any point of time, and no one can be forced to be w/ the company for minimum period. Even if you sign the contract, such a contract may not hold up in a court (check state labor laws for that). However, the company can sue you for reasonable business losses. $45* number of days doesn’t look like the best calculation to me.

      1. Chandran

        Even my employer has written something like this:

        In the event that you breach the termination notice or other provisions of this Agreement or

        that your employment is terminated voluntarily or

        for cause prior to the completion of twenty four months of employment or

        your obtaining of permanent residency status ( “Green Card”),

        or

        within six months after your relocation to a new customer site or prior to the completion of any project to which you are then assigned , you agree

        (i) to repay in full all actual travel and relocation expenses or other advances or other advances paid or reimbursed to you by the Company and you authorize the Company to deduct and withhold such payment in full from any compensation or other amounts otherwise owed or payable to you; and

        (ii) to reimburse the Company for all costs and expenses (including legal fees) incurred in connection with your application for H-1 Visa status or Green Card status;

        (iii) to Company’s withdrawal of its sponsorship of your H-1 Visa status or Green Card status; and

        (iv) to pay the Company as liquidated damages and not as a penalty a further sum of Ten Thousand Dollars (10,000.00). You acknowledge that liquidated damages in such amount is reasonable under the circumstances in lighter of the fact that significant damages and expenses will be suffered or incurred by the Company and in recognition of the difficulty and further expense of proving the exact amount thereof.

        You authorize the Company to deduct and withhold all amounts to be paid by you under this paragraph from any compensation or other amounts otherwise owed or payable top you.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Chandran,
          It is better to get the document reviewed by a labor immigration lawyer to know which items are enforceable and which are not. At times, employers add everything b/w the earth and sky to generate fear amongst it’s employees. What stands in the court, is a different story.

  19. Sridevi

    hi,
    any idea on Grapnel Tech llc ? they say, they will training & we are supposed to pay $450. once we complete it, they will place us and then sponsor H1B. any suggestions….

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Not that I am aware of. Be careful, they might be just trying to trick you and get you pay for classes…verify with someone

  20. PDD

    Hi ,
    I plan to join one consultancy, they provide the training and then placement. They said for the first 3 month they pay $25 (No matter how much company pay them) After this 3 month they start to pay parentage 60- 40 (6 month) and then 70-30.
    Presently i am MSCS student and i want to do work on CPT (Part time total not more then 9 month). So my OPT period can remain. So is it the good deal or i need to be more research about this.
    They provide lodging. They may file H1B during OPT. GC will file if the person can remain with them 1.5years or more.
    I hope of your guidance.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      They are trying to exploit you, that is ridiculous to pay $25 for first three months….You should be paid at least $15 to 20 per hour when you do internship on CPT. You are not going to stick with them that long….Try to look for an internship in a company that can lead you to full time job….I know it is hard, but give it a shot.

      1. pdd

        Thanks Kumar,

        As you said i will try to look for the Internship, but it is not so easy as you said.
        What if i want to cont. with consultancy and if i got a internship can i switch to other job. Consultancy ask for the agreement ($3000) but as far as i know the law in USA not allow any agreement. Is it true? Or what kind of action they will take if I get job by my own?
        Hope of your reply.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Well, depends on what kind of agreement. I have heard some cases where employer scares employees…As long as you do not sign anything, you should be fine…

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