When it come to job search for F1 Visa students, patience is a must. It can take several months before you can get your job after you start looking for one actively.
Some students think only Desi consultants would hire F1 students and then go on to sponsor Green Card. Which is totally incorrect by the way.
In the previous article, a student shared how Desi Consultant Work. In this article, another reader shares his job search journey (Graduate from University of Texas at Austin)
I came to the U.S. on a project assignment via one of the major Indian IT firms. My area of work is in Electrical Engineering/Power Systems. One of my colleagues on the client side was studying for his Ph.D. at the University of Texas, Austin, a highly reputed university. Based on my interactions with him, he suggested that I should try to get a Ph.D., too. Since studying for a Ph.D. was a significantly longer-term commitment, I decided to go for a Masters instead and started preparing for my GRE, as the University of Texas required a really good score for getting admitted.
I ran into a problem
After 4 months of hard work, late nights, and a lot of coffee, I scored a 326 on the GRE and managed to squeeze into the MS Electrical Engineering program. I then began discussions with my Manager, (who was based out of India), and the client team, to see if I could have some flexibility in my work schedules, for me to attend classes and work at the same time.
While the client team was very appreciative and supportive of my plans, my manager in India was furious and told me that the company had sent me to the U.S. for its needs and not for my personal goals. I spent some sleepless nights thinking this over and finally decided to quit my job and convert to an F-1 status.
Since I had close to 3 months before the start of my MS program, I planned my last working date accordingly, but ended up having to extend that by two weeks due to the delay in the change of status processing.
The university officials were also very particular about the dates and legal status, and they gave me a full-time student status only after producing my F-1 approval papers.
My colleague from the client team helped me to get a Research Associate position in one of the labs. That helped me to have some income, and it also ensured that my tuition stayed at the in-state rates. This was a big help, because I had my wife and little one here with me, and we somehow managed to survive on a very limited budget.
Two years later
In a little over two years, after a lot of hard work, wins, losses, joy, and tears, I was ready to graduate, and I started applying for jobs and posting my resume and profiles all over the internet. Some of the initial campus recruitment-based applications did not work out, as the employers preferred local candidates and did not want to go through the hassle of the H-1 visa process in the long term. That discouraged me a bit. At the same time, I was receiving 2-3 calls daily from some desi consultants, and I initially ignored them because the persons who were calling sounded silly and robotic.
After awhile, though, I was getting desperate, so I decided to check them out. I went to one of their locations where they were offering ‘free’ lodging and stipend, along with ‘training’. There I met a lot of desi guys who had been sent out from small-time, shady colleges, and who were eager to manipulate the system.
The ‘training’ consisted of sessions on ‘how to include fake experience on your resume’, ‘how to successfully lie on the interview’, and ‘ how to remove all records of yourself on the internet, (facebook/linkedin/google+/etc), to avoid being caught.
I was totally shocked and asked if all this would amount to illegal activity, and what the consequences would be. But to my surprise, everyone looked at me as if I was a fool and told me that “this is how things work in the US. If you don’t like it, you can leave”.
I was totally depressed and felt like an idiot. While I had to put in so much hard work and sacrifices, there were others who were happily manipulating the system, securing college admission without a GRE or any of the requirements, getting a degree without any effort or need to attend a lot of classes, working full-time while studying, and getting placed without having any skills.
To add insult to injury, one of the large companies that called me for an interview had an Indian manager who asked me to bring my college ID card because he suspected me of being a fake. Even after doing very well in the interview, he insisted that I provide a minimum of 12 verifiable references!
My Patience Paid off
I started getting calls directly from some of the reputable companies that I had applied for, including the client company I worked for initially. In the end, about two weeks before I graduated, I had four plum offers with commitments to file for the H1 and GC, based on performance.
I decided to join the client company that had I worked for earlier, this time at a Senior Engineer position. As expected, my previous Indian manager complained to the company and said that they could not recruit me due to some contract terms from my previous placement as a contractor.
Luckily, the terms associated with that contract had timed out, and I was able to go ahead and join the company. Today my previous manager addresses me as “Sir” and requests my help in getting projects approved for outsourcing to his team.
Life has come a full circle, and I take pride in my job and in the decisions that I took to get to this point. I love the respect that I am getting from being a student of a reputable university.
My advice for others is that getting a job takes time, and is worth the wait, even when it may seem like nothing is happening at first. Start early and be patient and honest. If you are deserving, there is a good chance that you will get the job.
If you don’t, it just means that you need to get better at what you do. Do not give in to the temptation of shortcuts. There is no pride, respect, or satisfaction in taking that route, and will not pay off in the long-term.
So, what do you think about this student’s journey and job search experience? Even a degree from UT Austin, doesn’t guarantee you a job.
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