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Canada to hawaii
07-09-2012, 04:42 AM
Post: #11
RE: Canada to hawaii
I'm a Canadian who used to live in Hawaii thanks to an F-1 Visa gained from HPU. I was later put on an OPT (time period before an H1-B is granted) as I EXTREMELY wanted to contribute my skills and knowledge back to the local community, contribute to the economy and take part in living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Looking back, I'd like to warn people pursuing this. Although I was proactive about my employment search well before graduation, I continued to search for employment well after graduating and I used up my 3 months that OPT provides. I was EXTREMELY frustrated that no one was giving me the opportunity to work because they did not want to sponsor me; even those I made close associations with and provided face value to. I was saddened by the treatment I received. I would have even liked to have worked for an additional year on my OPT, but employers want you to work for the long haul not just 1 year and have to leave. I pretty much wrote letters, showed my enthusiasm like no other but it didn't go anywhere. I was told more than once by every employer I had an interview with that I have great skills and the double masters degree was exceptional to the average graduate. However, US immigration law is extremely powerful in the case where employers will not hire you if they cannot sponsor you. They will have to post the position for x amount of days, if when they cannot find a local resident, or US citizen to perform the functions will then look towards foreigners (a term I despise) to fill those positions.

I am sad by the way things have turned out. I am also sad that I know of peers from other foreign countries who are happily living and working in Hawaii will after the onset of their graduation, and I know one of my peers is doing it illegally. Sometimes I wonder if Canadians aren't wanted in the States? After what I've been through, maybe some clarifications on this would be appreciated and would help me feel better.

Signed,

~Sav
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07-09-2012, 10:49 AM
Post: #12
RE: Canada to hawaii
I'm sorry to hear that things have not worked out for you. If it's any consolation, I'm in a similar situation. And I don't think it's because you have failed or are Canadian or anything like that. I think the laws of the U.S. really don't make it easy for international students. You're welcome to spend your money here, but that's about it. I'm originally from Europe and went to HPU to get my Master's as well. I've been living in Hawaii for the past 8 years and even though I was lucky enough to find a job while I did my OPT (Optional Practical Training), I have not been able to find an employer willing to sponsor me for a work visa (H1B).

I agree with you that it is very difficult to find an employer who will hire you for the OPT since it has an expiration date of 1 year. Also, many employers don't want to do the H1B because of the bureaucratics involved. The employer I was working for had initially promised me that when the time comes (after my OPT ends) he would sponsor me for an H1B visa. Last year when the time came and I approached him to do the paperwork, he said he changed his mind and doesn't want to deal with the paperwork and a federal agency. I was in shock because he didn't give me any warning and because I wasn't prepared to wrap up my life here and leave at such short notice, I enrolled in school again and did another 1-year program, just to stay in legal student status. I was hoping to find another solution during this time, another employer who would sponsor me or any other type of visa, but I didn't.

So this month my student status expires and I will have to return to Europe, after having spent thousands of dollars here in tuition and paid thousands in taxes. I think if I had to choose again where to go to study as an international student, I think I wouldn't choose the USA again. I think I'd rather go to Australia or New Zealand where international students are treated in a much more welcoming way and are even allowed to work during their studies. Because even if you get the H1B visa in the U.S. and your employer suddenly fires you one day, you're immediately out of status and have to leave the country. There is no grace period. In other words, you're always at the mercy of your employer's mood and you have to hope that your employer at least gives you a head's up in case he/she plans to fire you. So the H1B visa is a visa that keeps you in a perpetual state of fear. I always tell people who want to go that route that it's best to do this visa only in case you have connections or if you know the employer well and you're almost like friends or buddies. Because otherwise you simply cannot live peacefully.

P.S. One thing to note, you mentioned employers who want to sponsor a foreign person for an H1B visa need to advertise the position for x amount of days and if they cannot find a U.S. citizen then they can hire a foreigner. This is only partially correct. Here are the rules when it come to the requirement to advertise the position first:

The new H1B legislation requires certain employers, called H1B dependent employers, to advertise positions in the USA before petitioning to employ H1B workers for those positions. H1B dependent employers are defined as those having more than 15% of their employees in H1B status (for firms with over 50 employees – small firms are allowed a higher percentage of H1B employees before becoming 'dependent'). Source: http://www.workpermit.com/us/investor_h-1b.htm
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