Career advice for the h1b segment of the study abroad population has long been ignored due to their high salaries and fancy life in the United States. However, from personal experience, I know that this is a major issue with the Indian population in the US. The problem is that the current wait time for Indian nationals on a h1b work visa is currently 10+ years. This period is one in which it is increasingly difficult to switch jobs within the same career or company, switch careers or even get promoted within the same company. The worker is at the mercy of the employer, in most cases. This is a difficult situation for those who hate their current job/location/employer and many are looking for strong career advice. There are a few options that h1b employees can look into when considering a change.
One can change jobs on h1b after the completion of 2nd stage of the green card process (I-140). This takes approximately 1-2 years after starting the green card process. This may be difficult to do in most cases as the new company has to restart your green card process as soon as you start company. This may only be possible if you start working in a field that has very high demand and you have experience in that field.
2.Marrying a US citizen
If you marry a US citizen, you can get a green card in 3-6 months. I highly recommend that you marry a US citizen that you love. A lot of cases of fraud have been uncovered by US immigration, and it is a risk not worth taking. There have also been cases of the US citizen partner blackmailing the h1b holder, causing additional issues.
3.Moving back to India
You can move to India to pursue a career in a field that you have experience in. Keep in mind that if you are changing careers then you will start at the bottom of the payscale in India, which can be painful for someone from the USA. Starting a company in India is also a good option in a fast-growing country with a low cost of labor.
A lot of people on h1b consider moving back to India bad career advice due to the lower salary and living conditions, but these factors are mitigated by work experience in the US. For example, top companies like Infosys and GE house their employees in high tech campuses that feel like living in a developed country.
Moving to Canada/Australia
You can get a permanent residence in either country while working in the US. After getting approved, you have 5 years before you need to permanently move there; though you need to make your first visit within the first year. If you are doing this, make sure you have a plan on what you are going to do in Canada/Australia. Whether you are switching to a fast-growing career or starting a new company, a plan will make life a lot easier.
Author, Career 3.0
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