Over 50 Job Hunter: Corporate Employers and H-1B Loophole

I ran across a job description this morning that was so obviously written for a specific employee, that I was reminded I might want to share it with you in a blog post.

The golden ticket.goldenticket

Immigrant students come to the US to attend highly ranked technical universities.  When they graduate with excellent grades in tech, they become extremely qualified workers. Typically, these newly graduated students, are also highly motivated to stay in the United States, and are looking for that golden ticket, a company sponsor.  Tech companies actively seek out these F-1 visa students for new hires, because they are well educated, generally well trained. They also will work for less money to stay in the states.

Hiring F-1 visas.

header_internationalStudents can be hired with their F-1 visa easily by U.S employers.  If the student finds a job before they graduate, they can apply for a 12 month visa extension. During this year, hiring companies will decide if they want to sponsor the employee, for a 3 year non-immigrant H-1B visa.

This sponsorship begins a years long cycle on behalf of the employee by the employer. The same cycle also begins of the employee working for a lower median wage while they build lives and families in the U.S.  These employees won’t quit, ask for a higher wage, or chance another job, because the company represents their opportunity to legally stay in America.  To remain desirable, H-1B employees will frequently work extra hours and weekends that others might not. It is a win, win for employers.  It’s the golden ticket for the student turned H-1B employee. Ultimately, if the employee is successful, they will be sponsored for green cards.  Once they have their green card they are able to apply for citizenship in 5 years. Marriage to an American shortens that requirement to three.

It’s a dirty little secret.     shhhh

“So why does that affect me?” you might ask. The loophole affects any potential job applicant, because the employer has to prove every three years that they cannot hire an American worker to do the same job.  The clause below is an explanation of  U.S. Immigration law.

“Preferred Employees and Workers

A total of 140,000 green cards are offered each year to people whose job skills are needed in the U.S. market. In most cases, a job offer is also required, and the employer must prove that it has recruited for the job and not found any willing, able, qualified U.S. workers to hire instead of the immigrant. Because of annual limits, this is a “preference category,” and applicants often wait years for an available green card”.- Nolo – Green Card Qualification. 

Most, if not all, large IT and high tech companies have retained lawyers and HR Immigration Specialists, whose only job is to help their foreign national employees stay in America. Do you seriously think if this was not profitable, any U.S. company would spend this much time, effort, and money protecting this employee resource? No. The answer is no. If they were not saving significant amounts of money then they would not do it.

Using the H-1B loophole.

visaIf you have worked for a high tech company then you know how they do it.  If you have not, then you have to understand the part of the sentence “not found any willing, able, qualified U.S. worker” from the above excerpt. This is the loophole.  If you keep up with president 45, then you know his resort Mar-a-Lago recently used the loophole to hire low wage H-1B workers during the government promotion “Made In America” week.  This is not a practice exclusive to high tech IT companies.  The loophole key, is to write a job description so specific to a person, that no other candidate “can” qualify for the posting. Or, as in the case of Mar-a-Lago, mislabel the post and run it for the shortest number of days legally possible.

You can spot them.

When looking through job descriptions you can spot these posts fairly easily.  They will be the ones that get into the weeds regarding job knowledge required, and specific number of years experience.  They will list specific software, or development project information, and require that you be an expert for consideration. The posting will be very rigid, with no time allowed for a learning curve, and may require you have a degree, from a very specific program, available at only a few colleges. You will literally need to walk into that job and immediately pick up what that person was working on.

This is not about politics or is it?

I won’t get into the legal, economic or political ramifications of this problem. I know thisnothing-to-see-here-move-along issue well from experience.  I have worked with these H-1B employees, and I know how well qualified they really are. I know how stressed they become about maintaining their legal status. How afraid they are when they must leave the country to have their visas stamped. They are good people, that came to the U.S. for a better way of life.  They use this immigration loop hole to legally stay here.  Corporations use the loophole to help them.

If you apply for one of these jobs the company will accept your application and may even call you.  But the hiring manager will then explain to the government why you would never qualify for this job. It is all made to look perfectly legal.  They are not going to lose the investment they have in their non-immigrant employee.

Move along, nothing to see here… nothing to see.


  • Great post. This is VERY true here in the PNW – Microsoft, Google, Amazon, T-Mobile etc. One of our patients just brought his ‘newly graduated’ high school son in for his physical (required for him to work at one of the companies I just listed) and HE was telling ME the story of his own slow pattern of being ‘put out to pasture’ (he’s a middle eastern immigrant) and seems just as sad about this ageism and how HE too is no longer relevant.
    And even sadder that he is molding his son to go into the same industry he is being pushed out of.
    But then again I’m waiting for the final demise of my job (again) here with my general practice/geriatric doctor – he’s being forced to retire because he’s too “old school” for the Medicare industry (they want everything done on the computers) – NO face time with clients anymore… no personalities!
    Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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