Hello there. This is Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer based in St. Louis, MO, practicing immigration law around the country. I wanted to tell you about an exciting new book that we’ve written. We’re really happy and pleased with the way that it turned out. The name of the book is Staying Here. The point of the book is to help international students, those in the United States studying at universities and colleges around the United States in valid F-1 status, and talking them through the process of how you go from being on an F-1 to maybe getting a work visa, to then maybe getting a green card, and then maybe citizenship.
Obviously there are many steps that go along with the way with that process, so we put together this book and we’re really excited about it. The book tells you everything you need to know about how to maintain your valid F-1 status, about the immigration steps that have to take place in order to get that F-1 student optional practical training, which is the first step in staying here. OPT is good for up to 12 months and I allows students to try out an employer and for an employer to try them out.
It also gives them the opportunity to participate in the H-1B lottery. That’s a real problem for international students, international workers, is the number of visas that are available are much less than the number of people who actually want those videos. Sometimes it’s as much as three to four to one, and we’re anticipating that in 2016 that will be the case for sure as it’s been for the past several years.
OPT allows a student to maintain their F-1 status, to get approval from their school to work with an employer, and to then work and make a good showing with the employer to show that the employer might want to go through the expense and the hassle of sponsoring them for an H-1B.
We talk a lot in the book about the H-1B process, about dos and don’ts, things that you need to keep in mind and things that employees need to know when dealing with employers, how to present the need for a visa, how to protect themselves, how to make sure that they don’t get exploited, and the things that they can do to really become rock stars.
Because the fact of the matter is, it’s very expensive and time consuming for a US employer to sponsor someone for an H-1B. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the process. With an H-1B, the employer really has to make themselves so special and show that they’re so unique and so different that the employer is happy and willing to spend that extra money and to go through that extra hassle to try to get through the lottery and get an H-1B visa for their employee.
The book also discusses how once you get that visa how you really have to continue to shine, do a good job, because getting a green card through employment is even more of a hassle. We talk about all those things in the book. We’ve put it all together. You can download it for free at stayingherebook.com. That’s S-T-A-Y-I-N-G-H-E-R-E-B-O-O-K.com. We also have hard copies. If you call at the office, 314-961-8200, we’d be happy to send you a hard copy. If you work at a university or if you have friends, just point them to that website, www.stayingherebook.com. Anyone can download the book for free. Of course we’re always available from follow-up information or questions that people have about optional practical training, about H-1Bs, or about the green card process. Happy to talk it through with you.
But we really hope that before people contact us, or even after, that they read the book, that they take the time to really educate themselves, because too often what we’ve seen is that international students wait until the very end of their studies, and they really need to be thinking about this part of the process from the very beginning. Because the day they land to start their studies, there’s a clock that’s ticking. Eventually that clock’s going to run out. If they don’t do everything they can to protect themselves, to put themselves in as strong a possible to get OPT and H-1B, and hopefully a green card, then they’re really going to have to be facing disappointment and sadness that they have to go back home to their home country.
There’s a lot of good information in this book, a lot of things that universities don’t necessarily tell you or that your friends might not necessarily know. A lot of people think that they can get good information off the internet. We really encourage you to get this book, to get the true facts, and to find out all the things that you could to protect yourself and to get yourself a visa if possible. We wish you all the best of luck. Again, visit the website, www.stayingherebook.com, or you can visit us on the web at www.hackinglawpractice.com. You can always email at that address, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks a lot. We hope you enjoy the book.