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Author Topic: H1B assistance--before or after the first interview???  (Read 89828 times)
newbee80
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« on: June 01, 2009, 10:07:34 PM »

After a long wait, I've got that phone interview for a generalist/comp-rhet 5/5 teaching job at a small community college. After consulting with my department head, I chose to pop the question about possible H1B assistance before the actual interview (in the coming days) because he was of the opinion that interview or no interview, you should set your priorities straight. Did I do the right thing? Being a small college (I think), they've declined to assist me with the process, saying that they don't do such stuff. However, I have my interview lined up. Should I go for it or politely turn them down? What can I do under such circumstances? What should I do in the future? Do community colleges sponsor/assist Ph.D graduates from humanities with their H1B filing? Any ideas????
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sciencephd
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2009, 10:13:31 PM »

You're turnning down jobs because they won't facilitate your visa application ?  Why ?
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newbee80
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 12:12:55 AM »

No, No, I didn't. I would eventually like to have assistance with my H1B (visa required by internationals to work in the US if they plan to be here for more than a year). I don't know what to do and would like to have some ideas.
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sciencephd
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 12:16:31 AM »

But if they have said they won't help with it, then that is probably the end of it.  You could try to negotiate after being offered the position, but I am guessing that will not work.  Assuming that you are not, in fact, going to turn down jobs that don't offer assistance, the optimal time to mention it is after the offer.  There is no possible advantage to you in asking about it before, unless you are going to exclude them and not go to the interview.
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I just hate it that I constantly have to like everyone and everything. -- moonstone

O, what a hateful feminist concoction!
Jews, communists, "lesbians", feminists and marihuana addicts  --Pyshnov
immigrant
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2009, 3:29:05 PM »

I think this depends on the level of assistance you're looking for. I'm not sure public universities are even allowed to assist financially (beyond paying fees that employers are legally required to pay). In any case, as I've said previously, this is a question for an attorney specializing in immigration law. You're in a tough spot (one I've also been in), so get good advice even if you have to pay for it.
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stapler
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2009, 8:02:49 PM »

An application for an H1B visa is not merely facilitated by the academic institution.  The required role of the institution is to petition the federal government for the visa (i.e., the sponsoring institution is required to submit the paperwork, and often pays the fees).  An institution that isn't willing to ever sponsor H1B applications is an institution that isn't likely to be worth much attention from the OP.

The problem is that there is a continuum between institutions that will almost always sponsor an H1B visa (e.g., most research universities) and institutions that will only rarely do so (e.g., many but certainly not all community colleges).

OP: It it not always clear whether or not a given institution will be willing or able to sponsor an H1B application.  This presents a problem, because while one doesn't want to go through the the whole process of applying and interviewing for a position if an institution won't ever sponsor a visa, one also doesn't want to hurt one's chances at those schools that do indeed sponsor visas but that consider it a bit of a hassle and an unwelcome drain on institution finances.

This kind of thing requires case-by-case judgment calls by the applicant, calls that would ideally benefit from some extra research (e.g., does the institution have an International Office, and does that office have online visa resources for new professorial hires?  If so, then the institution very likely sponsors visas, and the whole visa issue should probably only be addressed when and if an offer is ever made).
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dellaroux
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2009, 9:04:45 PM »

Did you ask HR or some other non-academic-departmental office, or did you ask the person you'll be interviewing with?
 
This is tricky from several different standpoints.
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msparticularity
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2009, 2:14:02 AM »

Did you ask HR or some other non-academic-departmental office, or did you ask the person you'll be interviewing with?
 
This is tricky from several different standpoints.

I was wondering this also. At the community college I am most familiar with, most of the department chairs would be pretty clueless about this, but there is one person in HR who does actually deal with H1B visas when the issue arises.

Also, though, asking a department chair if the school will "help with" a visa may make you sound confused, unprofessional or disorganized. I suggest, OP, that you might try to learn a bit more about the process (from an immigration attorney perhaps?), so you can be prepared to ask someone in HR specific questions about whether they can and will complete the required processes.
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unspoiled
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2009, 2:30:21 AM »

An application for an H1B visa is not merely facilitated by the academic institution.  The required role of the institution is to petition the federal government for the visa (i.e., the sponsoring institution is required to submit the paperwork, and often pays the fees).  An institution that isn't willing to ever sponsor H1B applications is an institution that isn't likely to be worth much attention from the OP.

The problem is that there is a continuum between institutions that will almost always sponsor an H1B visa (e.g., most research universities) and institutions that will only rarely do so (e.g., many but certainly not all community colleges).

OP: It it not always clear whether or not a given institution will be willing or able to sponsor an H1B application.  This presents a problem, because while one doesn't want to go through the the whole process of applying and interviewing for a position if an institution won't ever sponsor a visa, one also doesn't want to hurt one's chances at those schools that do indeed sponsor visas but that consider it a bit of a hassle and an unwelcome drain on institution finances.

This kind of thing requires case-by-case judgment calls by the applicant, calls that would ideally benefit from some extra research (e.g., does the institution have an International Office, and does that office have online visa resources for new professorial hires?  If so, then the institution very likely sponsors visas, and the whole visa issue should probably only be addressed when and if an offer is ever made).

Second stapler's excellent post.  The part about whether an International Center, or Office for International Students and Scholars is affiliated with this CC or not, is especially valuable.  It may not all be a matter just for HR to help sort out. 
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canadatourismguy
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2009, 8:22:47 AM »

Also, though, asking a department chair if the school will "help with" a visa may make you sound confused, unprofessional or disorganized. I suggest, OP, that you might try to learn a bit more about the process (from an immigration attorney perhaps?), so you can be prepared to ask someone in HR specific questions about whether they can and will complete the required processes.

This is a bit harsh.  I have gone through the process and have done the research on it and it can be as clear as mud.  For instance, on the USCIS website they discuss the H1B quotas but almost no where can you find that educational institutions are exempted from the quotas.

If they hire you, the school has to do the petition for the H1B.  They have to pay the fees associated with it (and you may want to ask them to pony up for premium processing).  If you have dependents and need h4 visas as well that can get a little trickier but most schools will do that for you as well (it doesn't cost them anything other than a little more paperwork). 

For me, I would worry about getting the job first and then the ball is in their court.  Just do not count yourself as having the job until you have immigration approval in hand (hence negotiating that the school pay for the premium processing). 
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unspoiled
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2009, 5:22:22 PM »


This is a bit harsh.  I have gone through the process and have done the research on it and it can be as clear as mud.  For instance, on the USCIS website they discuss the H1B quotas but almost no where can you find that educational institutions are exempted from the quotas.

I agree with you that it can be as clear as mud.  I was under the impression though that all four-year colleges, universities and university-affiliated hospitals (those that hire residents, fellows and such) were exempt from the cap (or quota, as you call it).  I've been hearing that for so long I haven't checked it factually in a while, although I do remember checking it at some point.  Am I wrong to say "all" in that case?  ( I've never heard or checked what the status of community colleges is on that one). 
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Quote from: relocated_southerner
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shamu
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2009, 12:49:16 PM »

Being a small college (I think), they've declined to assist me with the process, saying that they don't do such stuff. However, I have my interview lined up. Should I go for it or politely turn them down? What can I do under such circumstances? What should I do in the future? Do community colleges sponsor/assist Ph.D graduates from humanities with their H1B filing? Any ideas????

The question really is HOW MUCH support you may expect. Is it that the school does not hire people who are not citizens or resident aliens or is it rather the lack of support with the process, but they would sponsor you. In any event, it is not a question normally asked at the pre-interview stage, especially since even Boondocks College must get some applicants who need a visa. Furthermore, typically, an candidate's application contains clues as to the non-US resident status of the applicant, so the SC may have had a clue or two about that possibility. The good news is, you got the interview and it was not canceled after your inquiry about the H1B.
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cyano
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2009, 1:02:08 AM »

I was advised by a number of people to never discuss visa information/eligibility to work until a job offer was in hand.  The first thing is to convince the search committee that you are the best person for the job and that they want to do everything they can to get you to come. Asking about visas etc. during an interview can raise doubts about your suitability for the position. Often, if you're a candidate the school really wants, they will help you.

Almost all colleges will work with you on getting an H1B. Sometimes, you may need to find the required paperwork and explain to the appropriate administrator exactly what they need to write. It can take a lot of time to figure out which forms need to be submitted and by whom, but it's doable. For my post-doc, my supervisor was unwilling to sponsor an H1B and wanted nothing to do with this process, but this position was an exceptional opportunity that I knew would really help me in finding a tenure-track job (and did). I paid for everything for the visa, found the paperwork, provided the addressed envelopes, etc. I was ready to pull my hair out a few times when I was working with US immigration, but I eventually got a visa .

Also, as mentioned by several posters, most faculty members and even chairs/deans don't know very much about visas. Human resources and international offices are more helpful. You may get assistance with an H1B even if the SC says no. Call these offices to verify.
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unspoiled
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2009, 5:44:11 AM »

I was advised by a number of people to never discuss visa information/eligibility to work until a job offer was in hand.  The first thing is to convince the search committee that you are the best person for the job and that they want to do everything they can to get you to come. Asking about visas etc. during an interview can raise doubts about your suitability for the position. Often, if you're a candidate the school really wants, they will help you.

Almost all colleges will work with you on getting an H1B. Sometimes, you may need to find the required paperwork and explain to the appropriate administrator exactly what they need to write. It can take a lot of time to figure out which forms need to be submitted and by whom, but it's doable. For my post-doc, my supervisor was unwilling to sponsor an H1B and wanted nothing to do with this process, but this position was an exceptional opportunity that I knew would really help me in finding a tenure-track job (and did). I paid for everything for the visa, found the paperwork, provided the addressed envelopes, etc. I was ready to pull my hair out a few times when I was working with US immigration, but I eventually got a visa .

Also, as mentioned by several posters, most faculty members and even chairs/deans don't know very much about visas. Human resources and international offices are more helpful. You may get assistance with an H1B even if the SC says no. Call these offices to verify.

What Sciencephd said.

There is no possible advantage to you in asking about it before, unless you are going to exclude them and not go to the interview.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer but I've had some experience with needing visas. 

Some things are best discussed in person, and while there is probably no advantage in asking about visa sponsorship at the pre-interview stage, foreign-born candidates often feel compelled to disclose their immigration status on their CV and cover letter (and if they don't, they can be asked to clarify their immigration status at this point), so part of the triage may occur at that stage.

If one knows one cannot possibly get work authorization without institutional visa sponsorship, then one should mention that during the interview.  It's only fair to both parties to get as much advance notice as possible, and if no collaboration is currently feasible, for both to be able to look elsewhere as soon as possible. It's not like the foreign candidate has a choice in this matter, since it's a legal matter.  It's not an optional perk to negotiate, the way an office, a computer or relocation expenses perhaps are.

Sponsoring a candidate for a visa should not be mistaken for paying, or helping pay for the candidate's visa application processing fees and/or attorney fees.  That part can indeed be negotiated (whether it also should is entirely a different matter).  
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 5:48:52 AM by unspoiled » Logged

Quote from: relocated_southerner
A true teacher would mentor the student instead of trashing them to others.  

Quote from: john_proctor
Be a scholar.  Just be something else as well.

Quote from: prytania3
Communism is DEAD.
msparticularity
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2009, 6:25:01 PM »

Sometimes, you may need to find the required paperwork and explain to the appropriate administrator exactly what they need to write. It can take a lot of time to figure out which forms need to be submitted and by whom, but it's doable. For my post-doc, my supervisor was unwilling to sponsor an H1B and wanted nothing to do with this process, but this position was an exceptional opportunity that I knew would really help me in finding a tenure-track job (and did). I paid for everything for the visa, found the paperwork, provided the addressed envelopes, etc. I was ready to pull my hair out a few times when I was working with US immigration, but I eventually got a visa .

Also, as mentioned by several posters, most faculty members and even chairs/deans don't know very much about visas. Human resources and international offices are more helpful. You may get assistance with an H1B even if the SC says no. Call these offices to verify.

Yes, this was my point. SCs are often completely clueless about visas, and may be reluctant to deal with a candidate who they perceive as too needy, or too unprofessional, or too whatever. Even once an offer has been made, it can be terribly important to come across as self-sufficient, since it is all too easy for an offer to be withdrawn based upon visa issues.
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"Once admit that the sole verifiable or fruitful object of knowledge is the particular set of changes that generate the object of study...and no intelligible question can be asked about what, by assumption, lies outside." John Dewey

"Be particular." Jill Conner Browne
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