The H-1B visa is a work permit issued by the US government and is popular among Indian techies. Every year, the US government issues 60,000 H-1B visas to undergraduates and additional 20,000 H-1B visas to postgraduates. There is only a 40 percent chance of getting the H-1B visa. Should you get lucky with the process, here are the things that you should know about jobs in the land of opportunity.
A Concise Guide to Jobs in the USA
Highest Paying H-1B Jobs
H-1B visa is the ultimate passage of every Indian techie to living the American dream. The US government started the H-1B visa system to invite people overseas to fill in jobs that Americans weren’t skilled in. The tech industry is most popular among Indians, accounting for over 53 percent of applications.
Here are the five highest-paying H-1B jobs:
1. Director, Deutsche Bank
All bank directors in the United States of America take a lot of salary from home every year. However, directors at Deutsche Bank in New York city cap the highest salary. They get paid $276,696 every year.
2. Physician, Mayo Clinic
Doctors and general practitioners are in huge demand in the US. Physicians at Mayo Clinic make $385,000 yearly. Physicians at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester branch get paid $273,410 annually on an average.
3. Senior Software Engineer, Netflix
Netflix became popular as soon as it stepped into the market. Working as a senior software engineer at Netflix will earn you $375,000 of annual salary. Netflix always invests in experienced software engineers and doesn’t hire interns or fresh graduates.
4. Business Assistant Professor, Harvard University
Education, engineering, and medicine pay the highest salaries in the US. Working as an H-1B holder business assistant professor at Harvard University will earn you $260,150 for a school year. It is a highly esteemed and prestigious job. Foreign language professors earn up to $209,514 for a school year.
5. Attorney, Skadden
Any country you settle in, attorneys will always be in demand. From handling legal to criminal matters, attorney salaries increase with experience. On average, attorneys at Skadden earn up to $208,655 a year, with around 22 percent earning as high as $260,000.
To get any of these jobs, you need years of experience and exceptional skills. Transferable skills like leadership, time management, and planning will take you to these positions in a shorter time.
How Can You Work in the US After Completing Education?
Are you planning to work in the US after finishing your education? You need to apply for an F1 visa to study in the US. And then, for working in the country, you have to switch to the H-1B visa. For you to get your visa changed, there are two paths. You can either change it from F1 to H-1B directly. Or you can change from F1 to an optional practical training visa and then to an H-1B visa. Any way is fine, unless and until you get a job and settle in the US.
What is Optional Practical Training?
Optional practical training or OPT is an American visa program that allows you to work in the US for 12 months. During this time, you can gain valuable experience in your field and find an H-1B sponsoring employee. If you belong to the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), you get an OPT visa for 17 months.
How Can I go for an H-1B Visa?
H-1B visa lets you work in the US for three to six years. Your employer sponsors it. The visa lets you travel in and out of the US as many times you want unless your H-1B visa is valid. The visa is given to highly skilled individuals in the US for their practical and theoretical knowledge in a specialized field. Using this visa, you can get your wife and children to the US using an H4 visa. It is a dependent visa, and your spouse can work only after getting an EAD.
Students find the Optional practical training way the easiest to start with. At that time, you can also get selected in a company somewhere out of the US. Students with exceptionally high scores directly get the H-1B visa through employers. Most of them get selected during campus interviews only.
What Taxes Does an H-1B Visa Holder Need to Pay?
United States offers a great opportunity for foreign workers to reside and work in the USA through the H-1B visa program. However, these visa holders are no exception to native people and are expected to meet certain USA rules. One among them was taxes.
Even though an H-1B visa is valid only for 6 years, they need to pay a certain amount of money to the government in the form of taxes. U.S tax laws are stringent in nature, and severe action will be taken against those who fail to pay taxes. Below are some of the taxes even an H-1B visa holder needs to pay-
1.) Social Security- Every citizen of the USA needs to pay Social security and Medicare taxes to reap the benefits at the end of their retirement. It amounts to nearly 6.0 % of the salary earned, and though it seems to be an unfair one for foreign nations, given their brief period of stay in the USA, they need to oblige the rules.
2.) Non-Resident Income Tax- Income tax needs to be paid by H-1B visa holders for whatever the money earned within the USA’s boundaries only. However, if a person attains the status of a permanent resident, he needs to pay the taxes on the money earned from outside the US’s jurisdiction. The income tax rate depends on the annual salary of the visa holder, and they do not enjoy any special deductions as native citizens do.
3.) State Income Tax- Apart from the above Federal Income Tax, H-1B visa holders need to pay a certain amount of money to the State wherever they reside in. Not all states charge this tax, and the rate may vary from state to state.
Lowest Paying Jobs you can have as an H1B immigrant
The H1B visa has given an ample amount of opportunities to people all over the world. With a wide set of categories comprising specialty occupations, many employers are willing to sponsor foreign workers, maybe instead of the skill set or just an opportunity for hiring cheap labor. But there are many occupations and job profiles that rank much lower in terms of remuneration. Here is an account of the lowest paying jobs for H1B immigrants.
Nursing and Home Care
From taking care of geriatric patients to people suffering from debilitating diseases like ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, to name a few, the work pressure is intense, requiring extreme patience and persistence, sometimes making the employees succumb to challenging situations, the remuneration is one of the lowest in the job sector.
The most striking feature about this job profile is the need to constantly operate the desk while staying in prolonged standing positions, with little to offer in terms of a pay scale. Cashiers are an indispensable unit in the US workforce. From stores to malls, banks, and so on, every establishment has a cashier. Still, they are compensated very poorly for their effort in taking care of the most valued asset in the economy, hard cash.
The food preparation sector offers some of the lowest hourly and daily wages in the industry. The extreme work pressure and erratic schedules, along with poor remuneration, make this sector one of the most disadvantageous for H1B workers.
Waiters and Servers
However huge and well established, the waiters and servers at restaurants and cafes receive the lowest hourly wages for the maximum amount of work and effort. This leaves a majority of the exploited and wanting to move to greener pastures.
Hosts, Stewards in the Hotel Industry
Hosts and Hostesses and well as Stewards are required to keep a smiling face and rank high on interpersonal skills but are paid extremely poorly in contrast to the high amount of patience they need to maintain at all times, which is why this job option is reserved as temporary.
How to Choose the Most Suitable H-1B Job For You
Finding a suitable job for applying for an H-1B visa is the most difficult part of the entire process. You have to remember that you will have to keep doing this job until the contract ends. Make sure to go through all jobs carefully and only apply for those that you genuinely like.
When you find any job, judge it on the following basis:
The US government requires you to get a job that pays at least $60,000. That amount is the threshold, so look for jobs that pay you more than that. When you are in the final round of the interview, negotiate the benefits and compensation. The company is selecting you because they need you, so be firm in your decision.
2. Company and its Culture
Whichever company selects, you should have a friendly work culture. It helps in the beginning when you have to adjust to the environment and in the long run. Most tech companies in the US have a very casual culture, which you might take time to adjust to.
3. Work-life Balance
Life isn’t all about working. If you live in the US alone, make sure every moment of your life outside work is spent well. When you discuss the salary, ask your recruiter about yearly paid leaves. Tell him clearly that you will need more days off to visit family in India than an average American worker.
4. Settling in the US and Future Growth
If you plan to settle in the US, select an employer who has gone through the Green Card acquisition process. Your job should remain the same before applying for the job and during the process. The employer should be very supportive and hold you on priority and undertake the process efficiently.