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"Hi Ms. Woszczynski, I'm having issues finding opportunities that sponsor H-1B visas. Do you have any tips for me on my search?" — This was a LinkedIn message I recently received from a physician. Visa candidates are faced with the added pressure of finding a sponsorship in addition to finding the right opportunity.
Make sure that you start your search early. Not only do you have the regular obstacles that other physicians have when finding opportunities, but now you are looking for a visa sponsorship as well. This can limit the pool of opportunities that are available to you since hospitals and healthcare organizations have a limit on the number of visas that they can sponsor. Start no later than 18 months before your ideal start date to give you plenty of time to search through opportunities and apply. This will also help with any documentation needed to prevent your visa from expiring.
Search for opportunities that provide sponsorship. On physician job boards, there may be an option to filter down by visa sponsorships or a keyword search. Start by searching for opportunities that match your visa status. This will give a good starting point to see what opportunities are available to you. From there, you can start to narrow down other options like location, job type, and benefits. You do not want to waste your time applying to opportunities that do not provide sponsorship.
Do not harass physician recruiters. This is one item physicians can struggle with, looking or a visa sponsorship or not. Make sure that you are not texting, emailing, calling, or reaching out to the recruiter multiple times about a sponsorship if they've already told you they cannot sponsor your visa. Many physician recruiters are well-versed in their organization's policy on sponsorship and know how many sponsorships are available for them. Unfortunately, there are not unlimited sponsorship opportunities out there, so times there is nothing a recruiter can do for you.
Expand your preferences for your job search. Unlike physicians who do not need sponsorship, you should not narrow down your ideal geographic location first. Many hospitals reserve their sponsorships for their more difficult to recruit specialties or locations. These often include rural areas that most doctors are not placing at the top of their dream location list. There are many benefits to rural practice that you may have not explored. I've seen the preference of being in a major city or near an international airport listed on many CVs, but this may be one item you have to compromise on.
Don't completely compromise on your ideal opportunity. Even though you may need to compromise on certain items like location, you should still make sure that the opportunity is a good fit for you. Remember that your visa sponsorship is linked to this organization and that means you cannot easily leave a contract as physicians who are not on a visa. You will be working at this organization for the duration of your contract. If there are red flags telling you not to take the opportunity, make sure you trust your instincts. Taking an opportunity that doesn't fit you and your professional goals can make you feel stuck and become burned out with practicing.
Looking for more job search tips? Check out the PracticeMatch Career Resources!
Hayley Woszczynski - Physician & Program Relations Manager. You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn for all of the latest PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events.