Monday, March 27, 2006

Visa Woes

I just heard from my employer that it’s their corporate policy not to sponsor work visas also known as H1B’s for foreign nationals. Since I’m considered a foreign national in the United States, this is a horrible blow for me. To make it worse I just started working for them and had hoped my visa troubles would be over.

Legally I’m allowed to work in the US until October 2006 since I'm currently on something called OPT - which stands for Optional Practical Training. It is a temporary work visa that is valid for a year and is issued upon graduation to all students who come to the US to study.

But since my OPT ends in October, I'm worried about what will happen after. If I don’t find an employer who will sponsor my work visa, I will be forced to switch to dependent status – which essentially means, I can stay on in this country but CANNOT work for a living. That means I either choose to be a housewife in the US or choose to go back home to India and have a long distance marriage. This is tough shit. And I am very upset.

The newspaper I work for is owned by a giant conglomerate in the newspaper industry that also owns over 58 newspapers in 23 states. I find it hard to believe that a huge conglomerate like this has never hired a foreign national. It’s insane.

Nanu needs to stay on in the US in order to complete his PhD. And I strongly want to live with him and have a job at the same time. Right now this is looking very bleak:

  • Either I get real lucky and find another job
  • Or the Gods smile upon me and my current employer changes their mind and agrees to sponsor my visa
  • Or I just work till October for them and then become a housewife
  • Or I work till October and then move to India and find a job and wait for Nanu to finish his PhD. and come back to me.
This is so very upsetting.


Anonymous said...

Poornima these days there are companies that charge you an x amount of money and sponsor H1's
I am sure u will find something

abbyladybug said...

God that sucks. What about through Nanu's job. Can you be a wife-type? Or can you work as an hourly employee and get benefits as his wife instead of from your job?

poornima said...

No Abby, since Nanu has a work visa, I can stay on in the US as his dependent - which means I cannot earn a living, but be here as a homemaker/housewife!
Anonymous, I've never done anything illegal all my life and would prefer not to start now!

abbyladybug said...

That's so nutty! I think this is a question for Ask MetaFilter. I'm sure you could get some good suggestions of how to proceed.

Shree said...

Hi! I am in a similar situation. Well, there are a number of companies in the US which will sponsor your visa if you pay them 2000$ or more but most of these jobs are in the computer programming area and these companies are pathetic to work with.
In fact I am trying to decide if I have to move to Canada and look for jobs there since we have Canadian residency. My husband has been offered a lecturers position in Ithaca NY and he is planning to take that one. I could work in the US as long as I had the OPT. Companies are not willing to sponsor visas to people with my educational background since they do find many Americans with similar qualifications.
I have to make a decision to move to Canada sometime soon since I am having a hard time finding companies who would sponsor my visa here. I think finally my husband will move to Canada too since living like this makes no sense and I have to work too. Being a housewife sucks.
So, we may have to stay away again for another year or more. It is so hard to make a decision between your carrier and your family life. I would call you sometime and just chat; maybe you have reviewed options which I haven’t done yet. Talk to you soon.

poornima said...

Yeah we should talk and explore possible options together. Will call ya.