Hawaii International Student Community

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Economic Impact of International Students


In a recent blog post on LinkedIn, John Egan discusses the economic impact international students are having in the United States. Check it out here:



Created by John Robert Egan Jun 26, 2015 at 4:51pm. Last updated by John Robert Egan Jun 26.

UH Manoa Student Speaks Out for Refugee Children

In a well-thought-out opinion piece in the UH Manoa newspaper Ka Leo o Hawaii, Claudia Lara takes a stand on the contentious issue of how to respond to…


Created by John Robert Egan Oct 13, 2014 at 12:49pm. Last updated by John Robert Egan Oct 13, 2014.

Tech Hui on H-1B Lottery

HISC Editor John Robert Egan's post on the H-1B Visa Lottery was featured on Tech Hui, Hawaii's high tech online networking community website. Half of all applicants were disappointed as the quota of 85,000 available visas were divided among over 172,000…


Created by John Robert Egan May 13, 2014 at 4:01pm. Last updated by John Robert Egan May 13, 2014.

Experts call for more visas for International Students and Grads

Pro-immigration reform advocates are pointing to a new report showing that more foreign students studying in American colleges and universities are pursuing…


Created by John Robert Egan May 9, 2014 at 12:06pm. Last updated by John Robert Egan May 25, 2014.

Why We Love American Universities

While Hawaii seems to be lagging in attracting International Students, the trend across the U.S. is towards sharply increasing enrollments. Why? April Xiaoyu Xu gives her reasons in…


Created by John Robert Egan Dec 1, 2013 at 10:58am. Last updated by John Robert Egan Dec 1, 2013.



This community is sponsored by MigrationCounsel as an open forum and information exchange about immigration law issues facing International Students in Hawaii as they make the transition from graduation to careers, from student status to working visa status. We'll post useful information, take your questions, and provide a chance to communicate with other people working through the immigration process. We're smarter together- Let's collaborate!

                               Site Guidelines here: Welcome to our site.pdf

Blog Posts

When International Students Travel Outside of the U.S.

As immigration lawyers we rarely deal with International Students' issues while they are in their academic curriculum years; the International Student Services office on-campus handles most of those situations. Still, each year we get a few panicked phone calls from students studying in Hawaii, but stuck abroad, unable to get back to the U.S. from a trip overseas. They are missing some part of their paperwork, and need help to square this away, and get back in time for their next class session.

An article in the Voice of America Student Union presents some solid advice for F-1 students who are traveling internationally, and it sums up what we end up advising those panicked callers. Take a look: http://blogs.voanews.com/student-union/2015/03/31/traveling-outside-the-u-s-dont-forget-your-forms/

Posted by John Robert Egan on October 6, 2015 at 1:59pm

H-1B visa lottery gamed by top firms, leaving few for the rest

The H-1B employment visa is issued through a lottery system, with odds that have grown increasingly poor as the number of applications has swelled in recent years and the number of visas has stayed the same. The H-1B is aimed at “specialty occupations,” mainly in technology, engineering, and general business.

But as John Byrne writes for Pulse on LinkedIn, outsourcing firms, mostly from India, have gamed the system, sucking up massive numbers of visas to bring in cheap foreign workers for U.S. companies such as Disney – leaving foreign graduates of U.S. university programs to face increasingly poor odds in the visa lottery.

The outsourcing business model is both freezing quality job applicants out of the visa market and giving the visa system a bad name at the same time.

Posted by John Robert Egan on July 1, 2015 at 12:46pm

Summer is No Vacation for Many International Students

American composer George Gershwin famously wrote that in the Summertime "the livin' is easy" - but many international students wouldn't agree. Summer coursework, research assistantships, travel to and from the home country and finally sorting through the academic year's accumulated paperwork can leave international students feeling a little less than rested when the Fall semester begins. You wouldn't be blamed for taking an afternoon off and going for some beach time.

There is one thing you might want to add to your summer "to-do" list though. Summer is a good time to review your post-graduation immigration planning, gather up-to-date information, and check your progress against your benchmarks. Are you thinking about working in the U.S. after graduation? Utilizing your Optional Practical Training opportunity? Starting a new business? Trying for an H-1B visa?

The Immigration Lawyers at MigrationCounsel.com are also working our way through the summer, and we are here to help with useful information and answers to your questions. There are two remaining Visa Information Workshops this summer, July 6 and August 3, where you can come in and ask any immigration question you have. Still here, and still free. So don't let the summer pass you by without making progress on you planning. We're here to help. More info here:


Posted by John Robert Egan on June 25, 2015 at 2:30pm

Enrollment Numbers Up, Visas Not

Posted by John Robert Egan on September 2, 2014 at 4:50pm


H-1B Lottery Disappoints Applicant and Employers

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service ran …Continue

Started by John Robert Egan May 20, 2014.

A cap-exempt worker transferring to a cap-subject job 1 Reply

Hi all,I think my case is quite unfortunate. I'd like to bring it up here so other international students are aware.I am on first-year H-1B from a cap-exempt university(A) and received a job offer…Continue

Started by Amanda H. Last reply by Amanda H Apr 19, 2013.

H-1B visas went quickly in 2012, did you miss out? 1 Reply

By now everybody who is interested in H-1B visas knows that the USCIS has closed applications for this year, having received enough applications to use up the entire quota by June 11, 2012.  This…Continue

Tags: InternationalStudent, OPT, H-1B, F-1

Started by John Robert Egan. Last reply by Amanda H Apr 16, 2013.

Congress Votes Down Student Visa Bill

On Thursday, September 20, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a proposed law that would provide additional visas to international students graduating from U.S. universities with…Continue

Tags: OPT, student, international, Visa, STEM

Started by John Robert Egan Sep 23, 2012.

Latest Activity

John Robert Egan posted a blog post

When International Students Travel Outside of the U.S.

As immigration lawyers we rarely deal with International Students' issues while they are in their academic curriculum years; the International Student Services office on-campus handles most of those situations. Still, each year we get a few panicked phone calls from students studying in Hawaii, but stuck abroad, unable to get back to the U.S. from a trip overseas. They are missing some part of their paperwork, and need help to square this away, and get back in time for their next class…See More
Idilia Maria Alves Seixas updated their profile
Sep 11
stella kwale is now a member of Hawaii International Student Community
Sep 3
Idilia Maria Alves Seixas is now a member of Hawaii International Student Community
Jul 22


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Online Resources for International Students

Traveling Outside the U.S.? Don't forget to update your forms!

Helpful advice from a Voice of America blogger for international students in summer travel mode.

Click HERE for article

Which U.S. universities provide the most financial aid for international students? A recent article in the U.S. News and World Report give some figures.

Click HERE for Article

How to get a U.S. Driver's License, for international students. Here's what you should know.

Click HERE for Article

Here's an article from the New York Times with tips for incoming International Students. Be sure to check the comments left by readers, they are even more practical than the author's suggestions.

Click HERE for article.

I found a useful article for new International Students in the U.S. News and World Report. It provides some tips on where to get help in acclimating to the new environment when arriving at a school here in the U.S.

Click HERE for article.

FAQs on H-1Bs

June 2014

The H-1B visa application season closed before I got my application in - NOW WHAT?

Unfortunately, the H-1B visa application system is quite unforgiving of late applications, they are simply returned as rejected.  Unless you have a job in a "quota exempt" category, typically with a university or the Department of Defense, you will likely have to wait until the next application cycle begins, on April 1.

We emphasize advance planning, and provide a variety of ways interested applicants can discover the timelines and milestones involved in the visa process.  Check out our website and our calendar of Migration Mondays information sessions so you will empowered with the right information when your time comes.


APRIL 2011

When should I talk to my employer/potential employer about the fact that I need a visa to take the job?

We are asked this question quite often. In general, I tell job applicants who need a sponsor to be honest, and address the issue as early as possible. If the company is willing to be your sponsor, they will need to know in order to make arrangements.  If they are unwilling, you will either need to persuade them, or move on to another employment opportunity. Either way, the sooner you and your employer know, the better.


What are the "best" majors to study if I want to get an H-1B visa after I graduate?

Of course, you should study the field you are best qualified for, or that you feel will be most satisfying for your career plan. However, it is true that some fields of study are more directly suited to the H-1B visa process than others. The federal regulations specifically recognize the following as being consistent with the requirements: architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts. So, if you are in one of these fields, you are in a good position to begin the H-1B process. If not, you may need to work a bit harder to prove to the USCIS that you are working in a "professional" position. If you are highly motivated to get that H-1B, you might consider changing majors while you still have time.

Is there a grace period for J-1 visa holders after they complete their program?

Yes, the regulations provide a 30-day grace period during which the exchange visitor, spouse and children may remain in the U.S. "for the purposes of travel."

Options for Nursing Graduates
We've had a number of inquiries lately about the visa options available to nursing graduates. Here are some of the topics we have addressed.

Is Nursing considered one of the STEM categories?
No, unfortunately Nursing is not on the Stem (Science, Technology Engineering, Mathematics) list, and so Nursing grads are not entitled to the extra time in OPT allowed for STEM grads. For the complete list of STEM qualifying degree areas, we have linked to the source document under our Info Center.

Do Nursing positions qualify for the H-1B visa?
Some do, some don't. The USCIS takes the general view that Registered Nurses (R.N.) do NOT automatically qualify for H-1B status, because many R.N.s are hired based on some combination of an Associates degree, training and experience, and these positions do not have a Bachelors degree as the minimum qualification. However, positions in the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) category will generally qualify. The USCIS Memo that lists the nursing categories that qualify under their guidelines as specialized occupations for H-1B adjudication is reproduced in our Info Center.

Do I need a VisaScreen Certificate to apply for a H-1B visa?
Yes, all international students applying for a H-1B visa to work in nursing need to comply with the VisaScreen process. The process is somewhat streamlined for international students who graduate from U.S. nursing programs, you do not need to show proficiency in English, and do not need to have your degree evaluated. More information is available in the CGFNS Handbook.

Can a J-1 visa holder change to H-1B?
At our February Face 2 Face information session, I was asked if J-1 visa holders are restricted from obtaining an H-1B visa. There are restrictions on some J visas, but there is not a "blanket restriction" on all J visas.

If your J visa is subject to Section 212(e), which requires a two year commitment to residence in your home country, you may not change your status directly from J-1 to H-1B.

Also, if you are in J-1 status doing medical education or training, you may not change directly to H-1B.

However, for J-1's not subject to these specific restrictions, there is no blanket bar. If you meet all of the other eligibility requirements for the H-1B, or any other nonimmigrant visa status for that matter, you may apply through the usual methods.

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