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The Importance of OPT for Obtaining an H-1B Visa

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An H-1B visa is a way for foreign workers to have temporary employment in certain occupations. To qualify, an applicant must have specialized knowledge, as well as a bachelor’s degree or the relevant work experience.

Each year, 65,00 H-1BS are set aside for people with undergraduate degrees, while another 20,000 are set aside for people with masters degrees. These become available every October 1st. Unfortunately, the number of H-1B’s has not been increased since the early 1990’s, which is an issue.

As a result, it is important for international students to understand the importance of OPT and how they can help bolster an application.

How Does the H-1B System Work?

Because so many people apply for H-1Bs, it is naturally difficult to get into. As a result, a lottery has been created.

Between April 1st and April 5th, 205,000 packages are delivered to USCIS, which are then opened by contractors and assigned a case number. This lottery means there is no scrutiny over the merits of a particular case or a consideration of need: it’s completely random.

Every year, students have to try to convince their employer to sponsor them for an H-1B. The filing fees alone are $460, $500, along with either a $750 or $1,500 fee, depending on the size of the company. Furthermore, an attorney fee may add an extra $1,500 if there is a request for evidence. This means international students have multiple hurdles to overcome.

How OPT Impact a Case

Optional practical training (OPT) is a time frame where students with F-1 status are allowed to work for one year. This is only allowed if the student has at least one academic year under their belt.
The reason OPT become so much more important is because everybody recognizes it as the only way to bridge the problem between students and employers. Without it, a student will be simply looked as just that: a student going to a job interview.

With OPT, however, they have one year or three years of experience to help make a good impression. Because of this, there are a couple of things that are important for international students to know.

  1. If someone wants to get sponsorship for an H-1B, they have to be educated about the process of obtaining one, as well as the importance of OPT. This includes the costs, the headaches, the paperwork, and the lottery.
  2. The date of graduation is importance when considering going on OPT. If someone graduates in December, the latest start date for OPT is February, and they end in April. This gives the applicant only a month to make a good impression and give an employer to sponsor them.
  3. Since the new administration, the laws and regulations haven’t changed. However, the interpretations have.

These truths about the H-1B system highlight how crucial an OPT can be for an applicant.

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