I am an international student with a MS in Food Science and an H1B. I want to stay in the United States, but I am having trouble finding a job. When I mention that I need sponsorship, they seem to lose interest in me. What do I do?
Sponsoring an employee is expensive and time consuming. Lawyers need to be involved, and it is a lengthy process. Often it takes years. Many of the larger food and food ingredient companies will not sponsor students. Although there is a limited number of students who complete food science degrees, many companies will hold the job open until they find the right candidate who is a resident or citizen of the United States. However, some companies are more apt to sponsor candidates with an area of expertise. For example, as you know, plant-based protein products have been incredibly popular these last few years. Millions of dollars are being spent on plant based alternative proteins, beverages, dairy products etc. Those who have plant-based research in their graduate studies are finding companies who are willing to sponsor. If you have studied soy, pea, or other proteins, you have a good chance of being sponsored. This is just one area of other scientific research that is needed in the food industry. There are others not mentioned here. The other option is to pursue smaller companies, (under $500 million). The smaller companies whose hiring budgets may not be as large as some of their competitors but can still offer reasonable compensation to good food scientists and engineers. They may pay a lower wage but will agree to sponsor you. When you are made an offer for employment and sponsorship, look at the whole picture. The initial position may not be exactly what you are looking for but will open up a wide variety of opportunities going forward. you will be learning a new trade, and someone else will be through the long process of paperwork and legal issues on your behalf. This is where the smaller companies are finding excellent candidates and offering them a wonderful career in food science. It is a win-win situation. Contact the smaller food companies. Since they are small, you as an employee will be wearing a lot of different hats that prepares you for a very well-rounded career with the benefit of well-rounded training.
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