How To Spot H1-B Fraud For LL.M. Students

By Desiree Jaeger-Fine

How exciting it is to see a job posting that explicitly offers H1-B sponsorship.

We are quick to send our application and impatiently wait for an invitation to an interview. We finally receive an email and we can’t believe our luck. We have an interview. We are asked to bring our resume, writing sample and passport.

Wait, what? Our passport?

Well, since we are foreigners it probably makes sense, doesn’t it?

NO! 

Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.

Unfortunately, there are many job postings that seek to take advantage of our longing to stay in the United States, and the methods by which some try to defraud our American Dream change and become more sophisticated every day.

We must always be on guard and stay educated to identify the signs of fraud.

Here are two job postings I found this week.

 

Job Posting #1:

 

Entry-level Law school graduate will have many opportunities to work on cases in various legal fields, as well as hands-on practice under the direction and supervision of senior attorneys who graduated from Harvard Law School. This is a great opportunity.

Requirements:

- JD/LLM degree, license is not a must

- Bilingual in English, Chinese and/or Korean

- Excellent writing skills and interpersonal skills

- Handling cases independently is a plus

- Must be able to come into the office for a face-to-face interview.

Qualified candidate will have a chance to obtain H1-B sponsor and high salary.

 

At first glance the posting looks legitimate. But let’s read carefully. I am not saying that this job posting is in fact a fraud, but there are some signs that make me suspicious.

First, I find it odd that there is an emphasis on senior attorneys being Harvard graduates. Why does it matter? It looks like a desperate attempt to appear like a legitimate law practice.

Second, a bar license is not required, and yet we are allowed to handle cases independently. If we are not admitted as an attorney we are not allowed to practice. So, how can we handle cases independently if we are not barred attorneys?

Third, it states we must be able to come into the office for a face-to-face interview. Most interviews are face-to-face so why did the employer feel the need to emphasize this?

And finally, where is the job description or the required skills? The employer decided to add that we must come to a face-to-face interview but did not feel the need to describe either the job or the required skills.

In sum, the posting offers the following: You can work in various legal fields and handle cases independently without the need of a license, or skills and nevertheless will receive a high salary and an H1-B sponsorship. If you find a job posting like this, proceed with caution.

 

Job Posting #2: 

 

H1-B Visa processing for OPT candidates (with project or without project). Interested candidates email your resumes to career(at)XXX(dot)net. please reach me at 248-434-8904

 

This is not a job posting at all. It is an advertisement for H1-B fraud.

We must use our common sense when we read a job posting. If something smells rotten we should proceed with caution. Below are a few signs to look out for in a job posting and interview setting. Please note that not one of these signs by itself makes a posting a fraud. There may be legitimate reasons. Use common sense and maintain a healthy suspicion when the signs below accumulate:

- A law firm has multiple identical job postings

- The law firm or company name is not stated (e.g. merely Manhattan law firm, NY law firm or top law firm) 

- Job posting emphasizes the fact that “qualified candidates will have a chance to obtain H1-B sponsor” without adding skill requirements

- High salary offered without skill requirements indicated

- Job posting is written in foreign language

- Job posting is permeated with mistakes

- “H1-B sponsor” is added to headline

- Job posting says that “H1-B will be sponsored through a member company”

- We are asked to bring our passport to the interview

- Interviewer would like to take pictures of our ID or passport

Please use common sense when applying to a posting and when sitting in an interview. Never let the employer leave the room with your passport or ID during an interview. Your documents can be copied and your identity stolen to apply for a fake visa. This is unfortunately an all-too- common practice.

 

Related articles:

Visa changes that could impact LL.M. students

Three things LL.M. grads wish they knew when they started

5 easiest states for foreign-trained attorneys to take the bar exam

Apps Every LL.M. Student Should Have on Their Devices

 


Desiree Jaeger-Fine is principal of Jaeger-Fine Consulting, LLC, a career management firm for international attorneys in New York, and author of A Short & Happy Guide to Networking (West Academic Publishing) and A Short & Happy Guide to Being Hired (West Academic Publishing, forthcoming).