Friday, May 31, 2013

Job Hunting in USA on H-1B–Employment Types and Tax Terms

 

In USA, there are following Employment Types and/or Tax Terms:

  • Corp-to-Corp – Indicates that the employer would prefer to deal directly with another corporation. The main reason for this preference is to avoid some of the potential liability that might exist in dealing with an independent contractor on a 1099 basis. This would include corporations dealing directly with other corporations or corporations dealing with individuals who have incorporated.
  • Independent – The employer is willing to hire a temporary employee on either a 1099 or W-2 Basis.
  • 1099 Employee – A 1099 employee is in most cases a temporary employee (technically, not even an "employee"). Because they are not permanent, they do not need to complete a W-4 or have the employer withhold taxes. They are responsible for paying their taxes directly to the IRS. The IRS requires that the employer report the earnings paid on a form 1099. The IRS would rather put the burden of tax withholding on the employer and therefore has fairly stringent rules regarding when someone can be considered a 1099 employee.
  • W-2 – A W-2 employee is an employee whose taxes are withheld by the employer and whose earnings are reported to the IRS at the year-end via a W-2. The W-2 employee completes a form W-4 at the beginning of their employment to instruct the employer on how to withhold taxes. This eliminates any possible issues that may arise with the IRS regarding employment status.
  • As an H-1B Visa holder, you should look out for job opportunities that mentions Corp to Corp (c2c).

    You will notice that job posts also mentions Tax Terms. Tax Terms includes:

  • Full-time – Will be working as a full-time W-2 employee for the company.

  • Part-time – Will be working as a part-time W-2 employee for the company.

  • Contract - Corp-to-Corp – Will be working on contract with or through another corporation.

  • Contract - Independent – Will be working as a contract 1099 employee for the company.

  • Contract - W2 – Will be working as a contract W-2 employee for the company.

  • Contract to Hire - Corp-to-Corp – Will be working on contract with or through another corporation with the option to hire.

  • Contract to Hire - Independent – Will be working as a contract 1099 employee for the company with the option to hire.

  • Contract to Hire - W2 – Will be working as a contract W-2 employee for the company with the option to hire.

  • As an H-1B Visa holder, you should look out for job opportunities that mentions Contract – Corp-to-Corp or Contract to Hire – Corp-to-Corp.

    Dice.com > Advance Search > Advance Search Options > Employment Type

    2013-05-31 07_09_11-Dice - Advanced Job Search

    Thursday, May 30, 2013

    Job Hunting in USA on H-1B–Dice Profile, Recruiter’s Response, Mobile Carrier, Billing and Package, Voice Mail Settings, Leaving Messages

     

    Although there are a number of job portals and services available online free of charge, but as per my personal experience, Dice.com alone would suffice. There are hundreds of posting on this website on daily basis, so much that you would exhaust all your energy and won’t be able to just review all of the posting – and I’m talking about filtered posting that matches your area of expertise, say for example Java or Dot Net.

    So, my recommendation for you is to create a profile on Dice.com and upload your both versions of Resume/CV – brief one and detailed one. Make sure your profile is searchable and you have mentioned valid cell/mobile number. If possible provide an alternative number as well.

    After creating your profile, even if you don’t “apply” to any of the job postings on Dice.com, you’ll still receive plenty of calls from recruiters/employers. The response from recruiters/employers will be so overwhelming that you might lose the ground under your feet Open-mouthed smile. So try not raise your expectations so high that would hurt in the end Smile. Be reasonable!

    Make sure you have mobile carrier that works best in your area. My personal experience with Verizon is that its coverage is good and quality of signals are great. Whether you are inside a building or on the go, it connects very well. It is important in this phase of your job hunting because you will be receiving lots of calls on daily basis.

    For those of you who are from Pakistan, there’s a significant change the way mobile service providers bill in USA. In Pakistan, we only pay for the outgoing calls and not for incoming calls. In USA, you will have to pay for both incoming and outgoing calls. For example, if your incoming and outgoing calls are 20 minutes and 28 minutes. Then in Pakistan you will only pay for 28 minutes of outgoing call, while in USA you will have to pay 48 minutes of incoming and outgoing calls altogether.

    I would recommend you to select Unlimited Package from your carrier’s Package offerings. You need that because, you will be receiving a huge number of calls daily. Plus, your initial screening will be done via phone by the recruiter/employer. And may be, your first interview might also be done on phone. So you will be engaged in calls of longer duration.

    Make sure the Package you choose have a Voice Mail option. Although it’s very common and is almost available in all Packages.

    Make sure you setup your personal Voice Mail greeting/message in your own voice. Do mention your full name and make sure you are loud enough to be heard easily over phone.

    If your Voice Mail have a limit on number messages to archive, keep deleting old and unwanted Voice Mail Messages to have space for incoming messages.

    Whether you are calling a recruiter/employer or returning a call and if the person is not available, record a brief message with your full name and your primary phone number. If you also mention the current time, that would also help the receiver.

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Job Hunting in USA on H-1B–Preparing your Resume/CV

     

    You should have to two sets of Resume/CV – a brief one and a detailed one. Wherever you apply, you should use your brief Resume/CV. If, they need more detail, they’ll ask you and then you can send them the detailed one.

    You should not mention any personal information in your resume – like:

    • Date of Birth
    • Age
    • Nationality
    • Religion
    • Race/Cast
    • Passport#
    • Marital Status
    • Languages

    As for your educational background – use terms that are known in USA. For example:

    In USA

    In Pakistan

    School - Grades 1 - 5 Primary
    School - Grades 6 - 8 Middle
    School - Grades 9 & 10 Matric / Matriculation / SSC / O-Level
    School - Grades 11 & 12 Inter / Intermediate / HSC / A-Level / FSC / FA

    Do not mention the location of your School/College/University. For example:

    B.S (Computer Engineering) in 2001 from Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, Pakistan.

    Similarly, in your work experience, do not mention the location of your workplace. For example:

    Java Developer – May, 2001 to Mar, 2003 – Al Ghanem Net LLC, Karachi Pakistan.

    If you have worked in companies who are known globally or in USA or have a representation in USA, then also mention them. For example:

    Senior Software Engineer II – Northstar Technologies Inc. (Sibisoft Pvt Ltd)

    Make sure, you have clearly mentioned following in your work experience:

    • What role you played in each of the projects you worked on
    • What technologies and tools you used in each of the projects

    Make sure you’ve mentioned your primary email and mobile/cell number clearly on your resume/cv.

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    In USA on H-1B–First Thing First–Start Building Your Credit History or Credit Score

     

    You need to open a Checking Account in a Bank. For those of you who are coming from Pakistan, what you call Current Account in Pakistan is called Checking Account in USA. To open a Checking Account you need your Original Passport and I-94. You will receive a Photo Debit Card, which you can use in ATMs, POS machines, Online Purchasing etc.

    ! Interest Alert ! Banks also have Saving Accounts which works on interest.

    Similarly, you’ll have to apply for a Secure Credit Card. The only difference between a Secure Credit Card and a regular Credit Card is that you pay for your Credit Line in advance to safe the Bank from risk of defaulted payments. While in case regular Credit Card, Bank offers you a certain amount of Credit Line depending upon your Credit History or Credit Score. But, because you are new to USA and you don’t have any Credit History or Credit Score yet, so you have an option to “buy” your Credit Line for your “Secure” Credit Card. If you pay $2000, your Credit Line will be $2000, so on and so forth. Other than that, there’s no difference in a Secure and a regular Credit Card, both works exactly the same.

    If you are short on money, than a minimum recommended Credit Line for a Secure Credit Card is $2000. Although, you can go for less than that too.

    ! Interest Alert ! In order to build your Credit History or Credit Score, you will have to do your purchases via Credit Card. So it is recommended to always synchronize your purchases with the amount you have in your Debit Card or Checking Account. Always, clear your Credit at the end of every month. Finally, if you are going through tough times and are short on money, stop using Credit Cards altogether, or you will be lost in the maze of interest with no outlet.

    So what Credit Reporting/History/Score is?

    Credit reporting is a system lenders use to decide whether or not to give you credit or a loan and how much interest they can charge you for it. Your credit report is based on the bills payments you have missed or been late paying, loans that you have paid off, plus your current amount of debt. A credit report contains information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) gather this information and sell it to creditors, employers, insurers, and others.

    Based on the information in your credit report, lenders calculate your credit score so they can assess the risk you pose to them before they decide whether they will give you credit. The higher your score, the less risk you pose to creditors. Your score can range anywhere from 300-850.. Aiming for a score in the 700s will put you in good standing. A high score, for example, makes it easier for you to obtain a loan, rent an apartment, or lower your insurance rate.[Source – USA.GOV]

    How to improve your Credit Score?

    Make sure you get your apartment, car, utilities, telephone and services in your name and make sure you pay all your bills and rent on time.

    Monday, May 27, 2013

    In USA on H-1B–First Thing First–Your Social Security

     

    The first thing you should do is to get enroll for Social Security.

    You need a Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. But you don't often need to show your Social Security card. Do not carry your card with you. Keep it in a safe place with your other important papers. [Source – SSA]

    You only need I-94 and your original Passport, which will be a proof of your Age and your Identity, which is required to file an application for Social Security Number/Card.

    You can locate the SSA offices or affiliates that are closest to you from - https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp

    When you reach the relevant SSA office, you will have to fill an application form called, Form SS-5, see snapshot below:

    social security form ss-5

    Officials will ask some questions mostly related to your Age and/or Identity i.e. your Passport. If every thing is ok, then they will inform you about the time when you can expect the Social Security Card in your Mail.

    A Social Security Card looks like:

    ssn social security card

    Valid for work only with DHS Authorization.

    Updates on Companies in Pakistan, Sponsoring H-1B Visa

     

    Now, it’s Royal Cyber!

    As per my source, Royal Cyber is now offering H-1B Sponsorship to candidates who fulfill following criteria:

    • Minimum of 16 years of education – with 4 years bachelor’s degree.
    • 5 or more years of professional development experience.

    Royal Cyber

    US Headquarters

    Royal Cyber
    55 Shuman Blvd, Suite 1025, Naperville,
    IL 60563 USA.

    Pakistan Office

    Suite # 1101-1104, 11th Floor,
    Ceasers Towers (National IT Park),
    Main Shahrah e Faisal,
    Karachi, Pakistan.

    Click to view a complete list of companies in Pakistan who sponsor H-1B Visas.

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Entering United States on an H-1B Visa–Form I-94

     

    UPDATE – Manual printed I-94 process (mentioned in this old post) has been replaced with Electronic Automated I-94, click to read more.

    Just before your flight to United States is about to land, you will be presented a form, by the airline staff, as shown below:

    Form I-94

    This form is called Form I-94 and it is basically an Arrival-Departure Record of a foreigner, kept and maintained by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and used by USCIS.

    You must fill out Form I-94 and present the completed form to customs officer at your respective port of entry (airport) to the United States. The customs officer will stamp the form and keep the Arrival Record portion and returned you the stamped Departure Record portion of Form I-94 (The area highlighted in blue box in above picture).

    You must submit the stamped Departure Record portion of Form I-94 when leaving the United States so that your departure can be recorded properly. If you failed to submit the Departure Record portion at the time of departure, it will create a lot of difficulties for you, if you try to re-enter to United States at some point in time in future.