One thing we would like to add to our H1B Visa News post relates to the need for legal representation and lawyers for your H1B visa process since it is a common question we get all the time. Technically US Immigration law requires your company to pay for all legal costs if they choose to use that option as well as all H1B visa application costs.
Now we know many of you choose for your own peace of mind or due to the nature of your company that you end up paying for the lawyer yourself for the process. Please note that using a lawyer does NOT guarantee or all things being equal enhance your chances of getting an H1B visa. In truth the reason why immigration lawyers are so highly regarded is because most legitimate companies who employ foreign nationals to the US, especially the top H1B employers like Microsoft, Google, etc. will always use lawyers. Because companies like these always follow the law to the letter and hire talented and highly qualified individuals to legitimate positions, they tend to have their applications approved almost always. Thus the immigration lawyers have a high success rate with H1B visa petitions.
However with individuals where the company refuses to not only pay legal costs but also often requires the applicants to directly pay or at the least reimburse the sponsor employer company partially or wholly the H1B application costs, I’ll bet their success rate is far lower given the above and that the candidates also may not be as highly credentialed and/or the employer and position to quite as specialized (and in some cases even legitimate to the H1B visa regulations).
However I would also be willing to bet in a large proportion of cases their profit margins are higher and their due diligence is not at the level say for an Immigration attorney retained by Microsoft for their foreign nationals. This is because they would be dealing directly with foreigners with less knowledge of US Immigration law or the legal process in general and often very desperate in their state of mind looking for any type of reassurance.
So in summary my caution to all of you H1B visa hopefuls this year not to be tricked or overcharged by Immigration lawyers and to talk to many people and try to get referrals from people you trust if you are engaging a lawyer. Also be fully aware of the actual official H1B visa application costs above so you know exactly what your lawyer is supposedly charging you and request itemization of your bills so you know what they are you charging you for.
Also additionally be aware of the H1B visa support sites that supposedly help you find jobs, employers, arrange US Job Interviews, help you with your US style resume, etc. Most of this information is freely available online and also on this from the links just here as well as many other official sites like Monster to help you with your resume of USCIS Government official sites for the list of past US Visa Employers.
There are also many non-profit and Immigrant support groups that you can look up that if nothing else are great sources of support and reassurance during this uncertain time. Also check out websites like foreignborn.com as well as our own visa and immigration resources section.