How to get a visa to work in the US as a Recruitment Consultant

One of the best parts of being a Recruitment Consultant is that there are plenty of international opportunities. Below is a brief snapshot of what visas UK Recruiters can get to the USA.

E2 Visa

This option is predominantly used for UK citizens however essentially it allows recruitment agencies to hire from their country of origin in which the original business was set up in. For example, if the recruitment agency is an Irish company with a US office, they can only hire Recruitment Consultants with Irish citizenship.

To be considered for this visa you will need to ideally have two to three years of agency recruitment experience plus a degree however this is not always the case and we have placed people with less experience or without a degree. It is very much a case by case basis.

The E2 process can take between two to six weeks from the application to the embassy interview stage so all in all is a quick process. Further to the interview it will only be around two more weeks before your visa is either confirmed or denied. Your visa will then be valid for between three and five years, but there is the option to extend this indefinitely if necessary.

E3 Visa

This visa is ideally suited for Australians and is also known as the ‘Australian Specialty Occupation’ visa.

To qualify for this visa, you should have a degree and at least three years of experience but again this is not a hard and fast rule. In the past we have seen Recruitment Consultants get this visa with less experience and who have not had a degree but nine out of ten times you need a degree.

It will usually take about three to four months to be approved for this type of visa and that’s from the time you begin the application. On this visa, you will be able to stay for two years and can extend this an unlimited amount of times.

L1 Visa

An L1 visa is what a recruitment agency will use to transfer its internal employees. If you do not possess an Australian or UK passport the best option for you could be to start with the recruitment agency in its original company location and then look to transfer internally.

The pluses of this are that it is less limiting in terms of the citizenship you must have but also that you get to know the recruitment agency and its way of working before you relocate with them. That said usually recruitment agencies will attach specific billing targets and/or promotional targets to you in order to achieve them before considering moving you across.

The visa requires that you have been working for that recruitment agency for a minimum of six to twelve months before you apply but the application process is roughly three to six months. The visa itself is valid for between three months and five years and unlike other visas the L1 only allows a maximum stay of seven years (however you can apply for a green card I believe after 2 years of residency in the US).

H1B Visa

The H1B is a little more hit and miss than the others and is a lottery-based system with deadline dates and a capped amount per year. We have placed a Recruitment Manager using this, but it is definitely not a preferred option by recruitment agencies as it is hard to get and not guaranteed.

For this visa you need to have a degree, multiple years of experience, and a job offer, and the company has to go through a process to show they have not been able to locally source a suitable candidate

The whole process will take between three to six months and even then might not come through so not an ideal route.

It is important to note for all of these options the US does not recognize defacto relationships and therefore if you are considering relocating with a partner they need to be a spouse in order to come on your visa. Children (under 18) are covered as dependents on your visa.

Find out more about visas, interview processes, and salaries in the US by downloading our USA Candidate Journey Guide

Not ready to commit to a US visa? Test out recruiting in the US from afar first

Whether you’re recruiting on your own or working for a recruitment agency, you may not be ready to take the full leap stateside yet due to the financial commitment involved with securing a US visa. Why not test out the US staffing market first from your home office? You can build up your brand, US client base and candidates, before physically expanding.  

All you have to do is find the US talent and use an employer of record like PGC  to manage their payroll, taxes, insurances, benefits, and employment compliance in any state.