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Information for International Students Entering the Job Market

Understanding Your Visa Options: H-1B vs. OPT/F-1/CPT

OPT (Optional Practical Training):

  • Allows F-1 visa holders to work in their field of study.
  • Standard OPT: Lasts up to 12 months.
  • STEM OPT Extension: Additional 24 months for STEM graduates, totaling 36 months.
  • CPT (Curricular Practical Training): Allows F-1 students to gain practical experience while completing their academic program.

H-1B Visa:

  • A temporary visa for specialty occupations requiring specialized knowledge.
  • Annual cap of 85,000 visas, leading to high competition.
  • There were 470,342 applicants this year, equaling an 82% rejection rate. 
  • The Build Fellowship is a nationwide fellowship offering a cap-exempt H-1B visa as an alternative to the lottery for foreign national entrepreneurs and experts, ensuring a more reliable visa pathway.

Benefits of The Build Fellowship

Cap-Exempt H-1B Visa:

  • Secure a visa with a 99% acceptance rate, eliminating uncertainty.
  • Avoid the annual H-1B lottery system, providing a dependable visa solution.
  • Lasts up to three years, with the possibility of an additional three year extension. 

Career Advancement:

  • Gain valuable work experience in your field while participating in mentorship programs.
  • Develop leadership and project management skills, enhancing your professional profile.

Employer Confidence:

  • Companies are more inclined to hire candidates with guaranteed visa status.
  • Reduces employer concerns about visa-related employment interruptions.
  • Significantly less expensive than pursuing a Masters or PHD in the U.S. 

Candidate Qualifications

  • A Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience in a specialized field.
  • Ability to dedicate 5+ hours per week to educational programming initiatives and workforce development.
  • A benefactor (a company, organization, or individual) willing to support the Fellowship costs – Fellows cannot fund their own Fellowship.

Fellowship Commitment

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, Fellowships can begin at any time. 
  • Fellows are sponsored for cap-exempt H-1Bs for up to 3 years, with a minimum 6 month commitment.
  • A 3 year extension is possible.

Evaluating Your OPT Timeline

STEM Graduates:

  • Maximize your 3-year STEM OPT to build experience and strengthen your H-1B application.
  • Plan your transition from OPT to H-1B through The Build Fellowship to ensure continuous employment.

Non-STEM Graduates:

  • Utilize your 1-year OPT effectively by seeking relevant work experience.
  • Explore The Build Fellowship to secure your visa and continue your career uninterrupted.

Employer Considerations

Job Security:

  • Employers may be hesitant to invest in candidates with uncertain visa statuses.
  • Companies are searching for a backup option if their employees were not selected in the annual lottery. 
  • The Build Fellowship's cap-exempt H-1B program provides job security, making you a more attractive hire.

Long-Term Employment:

  • Assured visa sponsorship through The Build Fellowship enables you to commit to long-term employment, benefiting both you and your employer.

Enhancing Your Marketability

Visa Assurance:

  • Present yourself as a candidate who does not require immediate visa sponsorship by securing an H-1B visa through The Build Fellowship.
  • Applications for The Build Fellowship are accepted year-round
  • Increase your appeal to potential employers who prefer hiring candidates with secured visa status.

Skill Development:

  • Participate in The Build Fellowship to develop leadership and project management skills.
  • Gain practical experience and mentorship opportunities, enhancing your professional development.
  • Build your portfolio through Build projects.

Networking Opportunities:

  • Engage with a cohort of skilled peers through The Build Fellowship.
  • Expand your professional network, opening doors to new career opportunities.

For more information on how The Build Fellowship can support your career in the U.S., visit The Build Fellowship.

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