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March 16, 2015
If you’re like most H1B visa holders, you’ve left your friends and family back home in the hopes of making a good western salary. Not being able to see your family on a daily basis is a sacrifice you’re willing to make knowing that in the end, it will be worth it.
Unfortunately, with the high cost of living in America and the exorbitant fees charged by banks for sending money overseas, many H1B visa holders find it difficult to give their family as much money as they had hoped. So what’s the life on an H1B visa holder in America like and how can you save when sending money internationally to ensure your family is really benefiting from the sacrifice you’re making?
Living and working in America as an H1B visa holder has its fair share of limitations. Unlike American citizens, you aren’t allowed to work multiple jobs or for multiple companies. The rules of an H1B visa state that you must work full-time and only for the company that is sponsoring your visa. You also aren’t eligible for any federally-held education loans.
There is also a fair bit of uncertainty that comes along with the visa privilege. For example, if you get laid off, you cannot claim unemployment and are supposed to leave the country. The loophole here would be if you can quickly find another company to sponsor your visa.
So with all of the uncertainties and drawbacks of living on an H1B visa, why do so many people still come to America and work on them. The answer is simple. They are much easier to obtain than a green card and the opportunity to make a western salary is hard to pass up.
You have put so much work into educating yourself, learning a skill, and getting an H1B visa so you can make good money working in America that it doesn’t seem fair for the huge banking corporations to take a large chunk every time you send it back home, but that’s exactly what they do.
It is not uncommon to lose 8% or more on the value of your money during an international money transfer with most banking institutions. How would you feel sending $2,000 USD to your family back home, paying a $50 fee to the bank, and then they only get an amount in their local currency with a $1,900 USD value? Pretty annoyed I imagine.
The reason this happens is because of the poor exchange rates banks give for international money transfers in addition to their high fees. Unfortunately most H1B visa holders are surprised when this first happens because the banks do a good job of hiding it. Luckily there is a way you can ensure your family is getting every dollar they deserve.
Dedicated foreign exchange services offer lower fees and better exchange rates than banks for overseas money transfers. With a company like Xoom or World First, that same transaction would only cost you $5 or $10 and your family will receive the full $2,000 value because their exchange rates are pretty close to, if not matching, the current market rate.
Don’t just settle on losing a large chunk of your money every time you want to send it back home to family. Do the research, check with foreign exchange transfer services, and find out how you can get the cheapest international money transfer.