Tips to H1 and B1 Visa Holders


 TIPS to H1B1 VISA HOLDERS – A Service of the India Network

In the recent past so many small computer companies started bringing innocent software
professionals to USA by using wrong and illegal operating strategies using H1-B program.
Many people suffered a lot because of these small agencies. Many such cases did not come
out because of fear of possible retaliation from employers using the so called employment

These tips are intended for aspiring people coming to USA in order to understand the
possible problems they could have if they are not careful. The table provides a collection of various things from the web and India Network takes no responsibility for any content errors or other damages arising out of employing these tips.

Category Things to note Possible problems and suggestion
Employment offer letter Go through the offer letter thoroughly.
Make sure all the verbal assurances are in writing in the
offer letter, If not don’t sign it.
Benefits like providing AIR ticket to spouse may not be in
writing. Once you land in USA and sign employment agreement employer may refuse to provide
these benefits.
If you are required to sign any employment agreement with
your prospective employer at the time of joining or before joining ask for the copy of
employment agreement.

Possible standard excuses like “We are in the process of designing a binding
employment contract
” may appear in the offer letter. Don’t sign offer letter
without looking at the employment agreement/contract which is mentioned in the offer

Once you land in USA and signed the employment agreement it
will become the legal document. Be careful about this. Most of the companies never used to
give the copy of employment agreement/contract when the offer is made. This gives them the
advantage to force you to sign whatever they are providing. Later this employment
agreement contract could be used as a legal tool to harass you.
Passport Only copy of your passport is required for H1-B visa
processing. Don’t ever give passport to the prospective employer.
Could be used as a tool to force you to join the company.
Originals of your Academic qualifications Copy of certificates related to academic and job experience
are enough to process your H1-B visa. Just to hold you till your H1-B processing is over,
some employers may ask for originals. Don’t give it to them.
Getting back the original certificates could be cumbersome
process in case you decided not to join the company.
Employment Agreement/Contract This is the most crucial thing. In most cases this employment
agreement / contract is used as tool by the employers to make you dance for all their
music. Read carefully before you sign the agreement . You can consult an employment lawyer
before signing the agreement. You can get list of employment lawyers pertaining to your
state of employment by visiting National employment Lawyers association
In many cases, employment agreement is used as a tool to
retaliate against employee, if there is any dispute arises between you and your employer.
Make sure you are paid irrespective of the fact, you are in
project or not. Normally United States Immigration and Natualization services approval for
your H1-B is for the existing job which could not be filled by native people. So if there
is any terms like “you will be paid only if you are in project” appears in offer
letter, don’t take the offer.
There are many cases employees were not paid when they are
not in project. If you have such problem after you join the company and you are stuck ,
call Immigration and Naturalization customer services toll free number 1-800-375 5283 and
explain them the situation. They may able to help you out.
Salary Unless it is mentioned in the documents submitted by the
employer to INS, your salary is annual basis. Not on hourly basis. There is nothing called
bench period. You should be paid from the day one whether you are in assignment or
not. Make sure no such catch is found in either in offer letter or in employment
agreement. INS may not approve H1-B visas for hourly salary basis for the people coming
from other countries. H1-B is meant for special skilled jobs which could not be filled by
local people.
If there is any clause like non productive period, be
careful. Don’t accept the offer. In case if you are not paid after you joined the
company in United states, call nearest office of Employment standard Administration of US
department of Labor. They may able to help you. You can get phone number by visiting their
Health Insurance This is one of the most important thing. Remember without
health insurance you can not afford for medical facilities in USA.
Most of the companies never used to give full details about
the health insurance coverage unless you ask.
Find out whether you should contribute any money for the
insurance premium.
It depends up on the company’s policy. Some companies
provide without your contribution. Some companies used to ask you pay 20 or 25 % of the
premium every month.
Find out what is your co-payment for each visit. Some companies used to provide cheap insurance coverage which
requires you to pay 20% of the cost of medical expenses. If that is the case don’t
settle down for these kind of health coverage.
Make sure health insurance covers all your family members. You may be asked to pay the insurance premium to your family
Make sure Health insurance covers maternity if you are
Most of the companies used to provide health insurance
without maternity coverage.
Find out whether the Health insurance covers dental and
Very few good companies used to provide this coverage, since
it is a expensive one.
Relocation Expenses Make sure in writing that all the job related relocation
expenses will be paid by the employer.
Some of the expenses like moving your car, telephone re
connection expenses, Department of Motor Vehicles related (to change you car
registration/drivers licenses etc) may not be paid by the employer. In that case you may
have to pay from your packet.
Getting VISA stamped in your passport Please take photocopies of all the documents provided by
prospective employer for your reference, before you go to the consulate. This is very
very important.
Only by going through the documents provided by your employer, you
will know what category you are and what documents were provided to INS and Department of
Labor by your employer in order to get your H1-B approval. This documents plays crucial
role, when there is a dispute/legal problem arises between you and your employer.
If there is a legal dispute with your employer in later
stage, if you don’t have the copy of documents you don’t know what your employer
submitted to INS and Department of Labor.
Once you join the employer Get social security number and give the number to your
employer and ask them to put you in pay roll immediately after filling form W4. By signing
W4, you are authorizing the employer to deduct the applicable Federal taxes. If possible
get employment verification letter on the same day you join them.
Your first salary could be delayed because you have not
provided social security number. Getting employment verification letter is the only proof
that you are employed.
Communication with the employer Always do it in writing. Verbal things will not stand when
there is a dispute. Particularly status reports, timesheets should be send either by
certified mail or by fax. If you are sending the documents by fax keep the transmission
report also.
Later if you have any dispute, employer may try to frame the
charges against you.

Links/phone numbers which could be useful when you are employed in USA.

Agency Why do you need? What to do?
Social Security Adminstration To get Social security number. Social security number is
required to get Drivers’ license/opening bank account etc.
You can get social security number in person in any of the
office near you. You can find out the nearest social security office near to you by
visiting their web site @
Department of Motor Vehicles To get Driver’s license/Identity card. Photo
identification is required in day to day life in US.
Refer the local telephone directory to get the number of DMV
nearest to you.
Department of Labor If you have any dispute with your employer related to wages/benefits like 401k plan. Visit
Immigration and Naturalization Services To get any information related to your immigration status. Visit
, Customer service phone no.: 1-800-375 5283
National employment Lawyers association To get list of employment lawyers in US. Visit
Immigration Law office To get information about any immigration issues. Visit
Internal Revenue Service If your former employer is refusing to provide W2. Visit http// or
call 1-800-829 1040
Fraud Reporting Center If you are the victim of any fraud committed by any company
or individual.


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