What visa options are available for hiring foreign nationals?

Lorraine D’Alessio / November, 2017


Founding partner of D’Alessio Law Group, Lorraine D’Alessio is a multi-award-winning, immigration expert that was named the 2017 Leader in Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal and is the recipient of the 2018 Enterprising Woman Award. Watch this video as she explains the visa options OPT and J-1 available for potential hires from outside the US.

Video transcript: 

What visa options are available for hiring foreign national?

You are a foreign national who’s here in the United States and want to make yourself more marketable for a tech company, whether you’re a startup or scale up. What can you do to prepare yourself for this visa application process and in interfacing with your prospective employer?

You should really consider what your existing status is first. Are you a graduate from one of the post-graduate programs in the surrounding area? Have you gained F-1 or Optional Practical Training status? Do you have work authorization through your student program?

The startup or the scale-up, whatever tech company you are seeking to be employed by, can actually hire you even on your OPT status, Optional Practical Training status. If you are someone who is in the engineering field, technology field, you actually should also check with your student affairs office if you may be eligible for what we call STEM extension, which is still existing right now, that’s what Sciences Technology Engineering and Math. You can actually extend that OPT status for another year-and-a-half, which can be quite helpful for the prospective employer to know, especially since we have an increased difficulty sometimes in transitioning people to temporary work status through common visas type known as the H-1B.

Let me move to another very popular visa option for foreign prospective employees. You should definitely take a look at the J-1 trainee program, you should see whether the employer may be willing either too depending on the level of size of that employer, whether they may be taking on a sponsorship for a J-1 program, this is a trainee visa option and this can be helpful when you have quotas and difficulties with the H-1B option as well.



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