How Fund Managers May Increase the Likelihood That H‑1B Sponsorship for Quants and Data Scientist Employees Will Be Approved

Hedge funds need financial quantitative analysts (quants) and data scientists to compete in an ever-changing market. Those with the most desirable educational backgrounds to fill those roles are often foreign nationals who require sponsorship to work in the U.S. The work-authorized sponsorship category most widely used by fund managers for foreign nationals applying for quant and data scientist roles is the H‑1B. Although sponsoring foreign nationals for H‑1B status had been relatively easy, 60 percent of H‑1B cases are now being questioned and subjected to lengthy requests by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – and one-third of all H‑1B cases ultimately are denied. Questioning and denials are especially prevalent for positions that allow degrees in multiple fields, such as quants and data scientists. Despite those grim denial rates, hedge funds should not give up on hiring foreign-born talent. In a guest article, Megan R. Naughton and Jennifer L. Shanley, partner and associate, respectively, at Robinson+Cole, provide recommendations and best practices that fund managers can use to develop a strategy for H‑1B sponsorship for quants and data scientists. As H‑1B cap season quickly approaches, it is critical for fund managers to confirm how each sponsored position will qualify. See “EY 2019 Survey Explores Growing Importance of Talent Management, Diversity and Inclusion; Use of Technology, Big Data and AI; and Cybersecurity (Part Two of Two)” (Dec. 19, 2019).

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