Friday, November 30, 2012

A time for everything: when and when not to ask for a job

A few nights ago I attended a talk at Tsinghua Law School. The speaker was a Philadelphia attorney, and his topic centered on investment by Chinese in the assets of bankrupt US companies. After the talk, of course, students gathered in a line to discuss with the attorney various things. One such student asked questions of the attorney, then proceeded to ask about the possibility of a job or internship.  The attorney replied that his law firm did offer internships, and for the student to send a resume.

When I observed what happened, I remembered what the Bible says, in Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:…
a time to be silent and a time to speak

I know this attorney, and he is a cool guy, pretty easy going. He is not the type to be upset or offended by someone who, in a public setting in front of others, asks about a job. However, others might not be this way. I also don’t know how the other students in line reacted. For this reason, I spoke to the student later, and recommended an alternative approach—namely, to discuss the substantive nature of the talk, inquire about the attorney’s background, then to be sure to get the attorney’s business card. Then, the next day, or as soon as possible, contact the attorney in a direct private conversation and ask about job possibilities. This way avoids the embarrassment, on the part of the speaker or the other students, that could be associated with the original approach.

In other words, always be sure that the setting is correct for the conversation you wish to have.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Job opening: senior accountant, for American Baptist International Ministries, in Valley Forge PA

American Baptist International Ministries (IM) Job Posting Announcement Senior Accountant

American Baptist International Ministries (IM) is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Senior Accountant. This is a full-time position located at the Mission Center in Valley Forge, PA.

[note from Calvin: I do not know whether or not they will support a non-immigrant status such as H-1B. I will ask them and if I get an answer, I will post it here. I do not know any more details than what I have posted, but this organization is well thought of, and the parent organization was one of the founding denominations of my church. Also, the person who told me about this opening is a pastor, as well as a staff member there and also a member of my church.Thanks.]


Join a vibrant ministry that is helping people all around the world come to Christ, grow in Christ, and change their world for Christ!

Role and Responsibility: The Senior Accountant is a Finance Team position within American Baptist International Ministries (IM). The Senior Accountant reports to the Controller of American Baptist International Ministries. Responsibilities include: Supporting the Controller in maintaining the integrity of the general ledger/financial statements; Assisting with compliance reporting including missionary and partner grant reporting; Developing and composing detailed procedures to implement corporate and departmental policies; Providing support for the annual audit; Performing monthly close procedures; Assisting with reviewing, monitoring, reconciling, and analyzing general ledger accounts; Overseeing the fixed assets and prepaid schedules; Cross-training within the Finance Team to provide support to the team during absences; Developing various ad hoc reports as requested.

Education, Experience and Competencies: Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Business with minimum five years accounting experience required and extensive knowledge of accounting principles. Must possess knowledge and commitment to the mission of American Baptist International Ministries. Requires high degree of integrity and excellent analytical, communication (written and oral including the ability to develop and write detailed procedures/reports), organizational and attention-to-detail skills. Evidence of global and/or cross-cultural experience preferred. Must be proficient with Microsoft Excel, Outlook, Word, and Dynamics/Great Plains accounting software or comparable general ledger software. FRx reporting and non-profit experience preferred.

Compensation: Competitive compensation package including employer paid contributions to a 403(b) retirement plan, healthcare benefits (medical, dental, and vision,) and paid time off (vacation, sick leave, and holidays).

International Ministries serves more than 2,000 volunteer, short-term and long-term missionaries working in 70 countries.

If you are ready to be a part of this dynamic organization, send a cover letter, resume, and name/address/phone numbers of three (3) professional references to: This posting will close on December 21, 2012.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting H-1B even though job does not require college degree

I sometimes get inquiries from people who are interested in gaining H-1B status. However, they are concerned about the fact their job does not require a bachelor degree.

I tell them that I have been able to get H-1B status for such people in the past. While a bachelor degree requirement can be important in a job description for H-1B, such a requirement is not mandatory.  That is, even without such a requirement, a person still can get H-1B status for such a job. The key, though, is to show that the job is sufficiently complex so as to require such a degree.

How can you do so? Look at the job description, and analyze why certain aspects are complex. Also, look at listings for similar positions at other companies, for example on web sites such as monster or careerbuilder. Another method is to get an expert opinion letter. In one of my cases a client support agent job at a software company had no bachelor degree requirement. However,  I provided a job description and other information to an associate of mine, a retired chief information officer at several major US companies. This person wrote a letter after reviewing the information, and stated his opinion that the job was complex enough to require a bachelor degree.

As a result of my efforts, and this letter, my client received H-1B status.

In other words, even if your job description doesn't require a college degree, you still might be able to get H-1B status through that job.

This information does not constitute legal advice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Applicability of the SEVIS fee

If you are in F, M or J status, you might be subject to a SEVIS fee. This fee is used to support the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a computer system developed after September 11, 2001.  Generally speaking, new persons in such status are subject to the fee, while returning persons are not. More importantly though, this fee is separate from any fees imposed by the educational institution, State Department visa fees or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filing fees.

To pay this fee online, visit When you finish, you will be given a confirmation number and the chance to print a payment confirmation page. You should bring that page to your visa interview.