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Background: I'm a H1B holder working as a Software Engineer in US. I've been with this company for 1 year.

Our annual salary review is coming soon and instead of negotiating for salary, I'd like to ask them to sponsor me for permanent residency in US. Since green card sponsorship is a very expensive and time consuming process for the company, I'm thinking this may be a good substitute instead of a raise. This definitely doesn't seem to be the norm though and I'm wondering if it would be better to just take the raise and ask for green card sponsorship separately.

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    I treated green card sponsorship and pay separately. – Patricia Shanahan Jun 19 '17 at 2:41
  • I'm inclined to agree with @PatriciaShanahan. Passing on your annual raise will leave you underpaid; at which point your employer would have to worry that having spent a pile of money on getting you residency you'd just leave for greener pastures. – Dan Neely Jun 19 '17 at 5:03
  • Have you asked if they have an existing policy or would consider it outside of your annual review? They may be willing to do it anyways, then you could use your annual review as an annual review. – silencedmessage Jun 19 '17 at 17:42
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Some of this has been touched on in the comments, but I wanted to leave you with an answer or two:

  • Check if your organization has an existing policy regarding this. Ask around.

  • If there's no existing policy, sit down with your manager and ask them whether the company would be willing to do this, separately from your discussion about salary. Don't bring salary up at this point at all. Also, don't expect your direct supervisor to have an immediate answer - they may need to request more information from someone else above them.

  • If you get a 'no' response, then consider whether you'd be willing to negotiate part of your salary to cover these costs.

Obviously this is important to you, and important enough that you're at least willing to pay for it with a lower salary.

I'd say, don't start the conversation with an offer to have your salary kept lower to pay for this process. It's not a great solution, but I think it's something you could offer as a last resort, if your employer isn't generally interested in working to get your green card sponsorship.

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