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How OPT Student should choose OPT Employer
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With the consulting regime conquering the IT scenario, many OPT Employers are in the fray to make a quick buck. So one needs (especially OPT students) to be very cautious and careful while choosing a OPT employer. Having a good employer is very vital so as to avoid any legal, payments, and immigration issues in the future and of coz getting work assignments at reputed companies by not being on bench for too long.

Before you set about stumbling upon an employer, one needs to ascertain what his/her short-term goals are. Is it huge pay / getting placed soon. Many OPT Employers or CPT Employers or H1B Employers entice employees with good % billing rates. One should never fall into such kind of traps especially when you are starting your career in consulting. The following are the important features one needs to consider when he/she chooses an employer:

*Check employer H1B and Green Card sponsored history at MYVISAJOBS.com- This website shows number of H1B and Green Card applied earlier and number of approved and denied H1B/GC. If you don't see the employer here, ask the employer for proof of H1B applied earlier so you know that you are talking to geninue employer. Also, note that number of applied H1B/GC doesn't indicate total number applied, you need divide by roughly 3. For example if you see an employer has applied 30 H1Bs on Myvisajobs, you need to divide by 3 to get actual number applied which is equal to approximately 10 H1Bs/GC (per Myvisajobs explanation).

*Check to make sure Employer is E-Verified. Refer this link for details.

* Decide on which field you want to pursue as a consultant and search for OPT Employers or CPT Employers or H1B Employers who expertise in marketing/training in your field of choice.

* Once you came up with a filtered list (may be about 20-30), get some info about the employer from any blogs, friends, employer website etc.

* Try to choose an employer near a metro area like Chicago, Bay area, NJ etc so that you have proximity to many companies.

* Call up the employer and talk extensively about kind of training they provide, if they provide any accommodation, what are their payment terms, how they do the hikes in the future etc.

* Make sure they apply for your H1 without charging any fees from you.

* Ask if they provide you bench pay if you are on fixed salary basis.

* Make sure to ask about their training schedules and fees if any.

*Ask if they have any direct clients/ vendors and how many students/consultants they currently have.

*Find out about their lab facilities, whether they provide any training material etc.

*Find out about the experience level of the people who train at the consulting company.

*Make sure if the employer has decent staff and office space.

*Negotiate about the salary when you decide to join this employer.

*Make sure you know about the contracts you need to sign while joining a company.

*Never sign a contract if you are paying for your H1 and training and accommodation and food expenses.

* Make sure you do not sign contracts whose period is more than a year if the employer is offering you all the benefits mentioned above.

* Make sure that the employer will provide you the health insurance and also relocation expenses for the initial project at least.

I might have missed a few points, but the above ones are some of the salient points that one, especially a student should consider while selecting an employer. Please don’t waste your time and money by falling in the hands of bad employer.

Once you have narrowed down to 2 or 3 names, get the numbers of some of the students/ employees working with those companies and talk with them about their experience there and any others you might want to know. If possible even visit the employer’s office to ascertain the situation before you join him.

The author of this article is an Alumni, who been through OPT/CPT/H1B job search process. We are glad to share his experience

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