My situation is as follows:

I interviewed with a prestigious financial service company in downtown NYC. A few days after my onsite, the head recruiter gave me a call saying "Congrats!" they would extend me an offer. Then they asked my visa status and whether I need H1B sponsorship. I replied "I will need H1B sponsorship in the future."

After a few days the company pulled back the verbal offer because they do not want to sponsor H1B for this role.

Is it a discrimination?

1 Answer 1


It is discrimination. However, it is legal, and generally not grounds for a lawsuit.

Discrimination is legal, except when it is based upon certain specific categories, such as race, sex, and religion. For example, it is perfectly legal to discriminate for a position based on the possession of education degrees, skill certification or availability to work specific hours or days of the week.

Immigration status (and specifically, needing a H1B sponsor in the future) is not a protected category, and as such it is legal to discriminate against this as a factor.

Additionally, there are several downsides for hiring a H1B candidate, and foremost of which is sponsoring someone for an H1B visa is not a sure thing, since the H1B system is run as a lottery; as such, you may not receive a visa or extension, and thus be ineligible to legally work.

  • Thanks for the answer. With STEM PhD degree, I can work at least 3 years with student visa. 3 year is above the typical lifespan of a job in NYC. In other words, I'm effectively a regular worker. There's no problem of being ineligible to work.
    – Machine
    Mar 8, 2019 at 22:47
  • @Machine: There's no problem with being ineligible to work, for 3 years...unless you are going to be a contractor with a defined term of work, this may be an issue for you. Many businesses prefer to have (the illusion of) the option of continual employment. People leaving is disruptive, so businesses prefer to hire people that they think will stay for "years", regardless of statistics or reality. Insert comment about management here.
    – sharur
    Mar 8, 2019 at 23:13
  • 4
    @Machine: No where is free from discrimination. Indeed, you are probably also experiencing discrimination in your favor, specifically discrimination in favor of those with PhDs, or at least college degrees. "Discrimination" is often used as a general term for unjust treatment, but it is only unjust (in my opinion) when applied to integral characteristics that are unrelated to the position one is searching for. Discrimination in favor of "those who are certain they can work for us for more than 3 years" is not illegal, nor in my opinion immoral, regardless of how unrealistic it is.
    – sharur
    Mar 9, 2019 at 16:21
  • 1
    @sharur I agree with your assessment; I just wanted to point out that extensions are not dependent on a lottery. Of course they can be denied, but the chance of getting an extension is probably a lot better than it would be if people seeking extensions were put back into the lottery.
    – phoog
    Mar 18, 2019 at 15:57
  • 2
    @Acccumulation I think "discrimination in favor of those who are certain they can work for us for more than 3 years" refers to a company's decision not to hire someone because their authorization to work is limited. That is indeed discrimination on the part of the company, even if it is also "following the incentives that the government intentionally set up." But the point is that discrimination is by default legal; that is why there are laws prohibiting certain kinds of discrimination.
    – phoog
    Mar 18, 2019 at 16:01

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