I have seen many of my friends, who come to US on L1 visa from a major Indian IT consulting company like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, TCS, etc and convert to H1B visa after one year or even less. I will try to explain some of the advantages of this process.
Job Market myth in US :
One of the biggest myths when you are applying for H1B visa petition is, you do not know how the job market is in US and How everything works down here in US. People are kind of skeptical about the situation here. I completely agree with perception of situation. Many of the big IT vendors like CTS, TCS or Infy, etc have implementations in US and they bring in their employees to work on site in US. IT people work very hard in India to get an onsite chance including countless sleepless nights and late night conference calls. The bad part is, L1 visa working employees realize after coming to US, that they are not well compensated when compared to their counterparts working on H1B visa in US. Guess what, once they get grounded well around here in US, they plan on L1 to H1B conversion. The process of L1 to H1B transfer is not very complicated.
Advantages of L1 to H1B transfer & implications :
There are many advantages of L1 to H1B visa transfer like below
- Job Market in US Study : The biggest advantage is, if you are already in US, you have a fairly good understanding of how the job market is performing in US. You can talk to people, talk to vendors, talk to friends, talk to recruiters, etc and figure out the job situation for your particular area. You may also check the article for job market study :US recession impact on H1B visa filing for 2011 quota? How is Job Market in US in 2010 – 2011 ?
- Playing Safe : You are playing it very safe, there is no risk involved. Worst case scenario, you can still stay in US on L1 visa if you realize the Job market is not improving.
- Seek Full time Employment with Clients : Your opportunities are not limited to just IT consulting companies. You can start looking full time opportunities with a Client company. Might not be the client company you serve on L1, other similar Clients or American companies who need people with your skills. Your opportunities are in fact, endless.
- L1 to H1B change of Status : Change of status is very simple from L1 to H1B visa. The transfer process is seamless. You can transfer your status from L1 to H1B visa and start working as soon as your H1B starts in October. You do not need to go to visa stamping, unless you plan to leave the country for some reason and re-enter US.
- Choosing Good IT consulting company : You can talk to real companies and verify their authenticity. It is easy to find companies information in US, than in India. Your network is much broader. You have good chance of connecting with people in a company and you can make a wise choice for choosing a consulting company if you have to. For more info, check article : How to Choose your H1B sponsor employer
- Job search, first consulting project time save : You are not wasting any time for job search. The idea is, you keep working on L1 visa and then look for a Job and then take up an opportunity only when you find a good project, at least the first project. You have an option to choose the project. No time is wasted for break through. Typically, first consulting job is the harder part. Good things is, you do not have to waste time for the first job.
- Help for projects : The other added advantage is, let’s say you start a project and you need some technical help or need to discuss some things about anything, you have a chosen set of old company friends who can help you to solve the issues.
I can keep on writing… the above listed seem very logical and definitely gives you an advantages. Your strategy for applying for H1B visa should be a safe bet with the current economy and recession. If you come to US on L1 visa and then transfer from L1 to H1B, you are playing a safer bet. On the other hand, you may have lot of work load and other commitments on L1 visa because you may be the only person on site, but “there is no free lunch, you may have to work double shift to hedge the risk…”
Do you know any other advantages ? Add a comment…