The country of birth decides the number of advantages and disadvantages you may face during your stay on an H1B visa. Some disadvantages are applicable to all the H1B visa holders irrespective of their country of origin.
If you are from India or China, the disadvantages are significantly higher than the advantages.
Opportunity to work in the world’s largest economy
The H1B visa allows you to work in the most leading and innovative country in the world. The United States has dominated the information age. They have produced more patents and innovated many technologies compared to many other countries combined. If anything big has to happen in the world, it is mostly guaranteed to happen in the United States. Otherwise, the United States gets its fair share of innovations happening around the world.
It is quite fair to say that the United States is in the center stage of technology and innovation in the current era and an H1B visa allows you to experience it and be part of it.
Looks good on a resume
Working in the United States is one of the best things that can happen to you, your resume, and your professional growth. Depending on your role and job duties performed, you will be able to fetch more generous pay and excellent job prospects in your home country or any other country. It is generally assumed that you can work under stress and that you have better communication skills after you spend a few years working in the United States.
It is very important to choose your job positions and employer wisely if you are planning to make the most of your 6 years of H1B visa life in the USA.
Good pay and benefits
Most H1B visa holders work for big established multinational corporations and great startups. Many H1B workers are compensated very well in terms of annual pay, benefits, 401k, bonuses, and stock options. Even if H1B workers begin their journey with relatively low wages, it’s possible for them to change the job and seek better prospects due to the nature of the H1B visa.
You are allowed to change employer
It is somewhat a tedious process, but an H1B visa allows you to change employers. It is not as straightforward as it is for US citizens and green card holders, but it is always an option. Depending on where you are in your career and your visa renewal and extension timeline, you may take a chance to change your employer to seek better pay and more challenging work. Most H1B holders do not use this option in order to maintain good relations with the employer. They tend to stay loyal to attempt green card sponsorship through their employer and end up working for one employer for most of their career.
The US has a big and thriving economy. You should consider changing your job at least once before starting the long and tedious process of applying for a green card through your employer. You will need more paperwork and additional processing time if you decide to change your job after your green card process has begun.
Your dependents can accompany you
While this is somewhat a disadvantage, it is good to have an option to bring your spouse and kids to undergo life in the United States during your H1B stay. The United States has numerous outdoors and a lot of activities for kids depending on your state of residence. It is also good to have someone by your side, while you are navigating the murky, turbulent waters of the H1B visa process and renewals.
Networking and friends
You may be able to make some profound and long-lasting friends and professional contacts. You may run into many industry leaders and motivational gurus in your industry who can play the role of a good mentor for your professional and personal life.
Travel and leisure:
The United States has great outdoors, state parks, national parks, and world landmark sites. It has activities for each lifestyle and desire. US cities have the best nightlife, and you will experience food and cultures from many different parts of the world. The United States has a pretty good highway system for road trips, well-connected domestic airports, and large international airports. You may be able to travel on budget using various discounts and offers to many astounding destinations. Most world-class artists perform at various venues in the United States and there many major sporting events.
You will enjoy each and every aspect of travel and leisure depending on your choice and desire.
Disadvantages of H1B visa
H1B Employee- Employer relationship
You are only allowed to work for a specified employer at a particular location mentioned in your H1B application. United States employers hire employees using the “at-will” employment clause. You may be let go at any moment due to many factors that are out of your control. Although you are allowed to change employers, sometimes it may be very challenging to find a new employer who is willing to sponsor the H1B visa in 60 days timeframe.
60 days to gather your belongings and move
If you lose your job for any reason, you have 60 days to find an employer and file a new H1B application to continue your stay.
If you fail to do so, you have to let go of many valuable things and leave the United States. Due to the stress of finding the job in a time frame of 60 days, many good candidates also bomb at interviews for new positions. The situation becomes more complicated if dependents are involved. Even if you are able to find a new job, each H1B renewal or transfer is treated as a new cap-exempt application by the USCIS. Your H1B application may go through the same level of scrutiny and may even get denied adding to difficulties you are already facing.
USCIS plays the role of God in your life
During your stay on an H1B visa, USCIS plays the role of the god in your life. If you believed that you won the H1B lottery, and now you will be able to live quietly for up to 6 years or more depending on your green card application process, you are in for a shock. There was a time when this was true, but it is not the case anymore.
USCIS has rejected many renewals and extension applications for weird reasons even if the H1B applicant is in the US for many years.
Country of origin decides your happiness
If you are from India or China, you will have an extra share of the trouble in your extensions and renewals.
Even if you start a green card application process through your employer, you will be in a long green card queue that may take more than 25 years to process. During this waiting time, you and your dependents will go through many visa extensions or transfers and things may go wrong at any time.
Being away from friends and family at home
Our brain is designed to process people and things in one way, “Out of sight, out of mind”.
Even though you will be using the most advanced technology to regularly stay in touch with your friends and family at home, or even if you visit your country frequently, relations and care won’t be the same anymore. Your family will become your friends and friends will become acquaintances. After a while, you may only be called if someone needs guidance on their visit to the United States or if they need something from the United States. Depending on your visa expiry date, I-94 expiry date, and visa transfer or extension timeline, you may not be able to visit your home country for a few years at a time.
You may miss many key moments and functions that are important to your family and friends and you will be emotionally withdrawn.
Random policy changes
The United States is a great country, but the government is the same as any other government. In the case of immigration agenda, they are probably worse than many poor nations.
Your stay and life will be greatly impacted depending on the elections and chosen president. Immigrants are used as pawns to further other bills and agendas. Even if you are not involved in politics, you will have to pay attention to these matters. This makes life stressful.
Difficult to make long-term plans
It’s difficult to make long-term plans such as purchasing a house or a good car. You may have to live your life 3 years at a time and have to continually make plans 3 years in advance. Many H1B visa holders lose a lot of money due to such mistakes and their equity becomes negative equity on such purchases.
The hypocrisy of social security taxes and Medicare taxes
There is only one case where you get the benefits of being a US citizen during your stay on H1B, i.e. paying income taxes.
For some reason, even if the H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, you have to pay taxes for benefits such as social security and medicare, which you may or may not use in the future.
Possible racism and hate crime
The United States has come a long way in this regard, but they still have a long way to go. Depending on your state and place of stay, you may encounter some form of racism. Many immigrants in the past have become victims of such hate crimes. Depending on the severity of the issues, politicians and news networks may pay attention to these issues for short time. Such issues persist and one should be aware of this.
Violence for no reason
A small argument on an ideal afternoon at some social gathering can result in loss of life.
Living in the United States is very stressful and sometimes it comes out the wrong way.
There have been cases where people have fallen victims to mass shootings or other violent attacks in very sudden scenarios. You have to constantly look over your shoulders and be alert all the time.
Due to it being the largest economy in the world, life can be very aggressive, busy, and stressful.
If you plan to work for 12 hours a day to impress your employer, you are just a step away from being replaced by someone who is willing to work 14 hours a day. It results in a very poor work culture and constant pressure to be good at what you do. United States workers are known to work longer hours and they mostly live a very stressful life.
Healthcare is stupid and complex
It’s overblown, complex, and costly.
Your health insurance depends on your employer. It may cost a huge amount of money for many procedures and surgeries. Most hospitals and pharmacies are for profit. It’s in their best interest to raise the cost of your treatment. The system is confusing and tough to navigate properly. You may get into huge debt if you are not careful.
Life on an H1B visa is can be good if you chose to stay for only 6 years. If you plan to stay past 6 years, you should be ready to handle all sorts of social, immigration, and economic obstacles.