There are several types of visas under which foreigners can work here, from seasonal farm work programs to O visas for “extraordinary aliens” — Nobel Prize winners, celebrities and occasionally writers. For someone like me, just starting out in a career, this one was a long shot. The most common visa among college graduates is the H1-B. But the application process takes months, and the employer is required to shell out thousands of dollars in legal fees to pay for sponsorship. The foreigner’s legal status in the country also depends on maintaining his or her employment.
When I graduated, right before the Great Recession, no one was sponsoring. I asked a lawyer if there was anything I could do to stay. He took my $100 consultation fee and asked if I had a boyfriend I could marry.