How to move to USA...?

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Nomini
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How to move to USA...?

Post by Nomini » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:48 pm

Basically as per the thread title.

Currently a public sector worker in the UK (mid-ranking policy advice-type work) which is perfectly fine, certainly can't complain, but I'm also not getting younger and always had a vague dream at the back of my mind about moving to the States. If I think about it, it's actually not necessarily about the States specifically, but the things that attract me in principle are:

- Salaries (I'm currently near enough as high as I can go in my career at ~60k USD per annum)
- Similar or better weather than the UK (more sun, less rain - obviously depends where in the States)
- The adventure of moving to the other side of the world (have previously lived in other European countries and loved being an expat)
- It still being an anglosphere country (been there, done that with foreign languages; don't mind it, but it's not my preference)
- Better value real estate (also, oviously depends where)
- The 'get up and go' vibe I feel far more when over in the States than here in Europe

Retraining in something more portable (accountancy? IT? engineering? economist? - all sound perfectly interesting) might be possible, albeit expensive and time-consuming, but does anyone have any neater ideas about how to do it? I suspect that when push comes to shove, I don't want the move to the States hard enough to go to all that trouble (and if the answer is, "well it's just not possible without putting in a Herculean effort of some kind", then fair enough)

chenda
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by chenda » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:16 pm

Could you work remotely for your current employer ? Might be easier, I have several colleagues who do that, one who was working from Dubai for a while. Just like working from home.

A disadvantage you might find working for a US employer is the likely much shorter leave entitlement.

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fiby41
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by fiby41 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:49 pm

Would you have to give up the healthcare benefits if you moved?

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Stahlmann
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Stahlmann » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:31 am

just steal jobs from entitled 1st worlders :-DD

to some extent, their jobs are in your country or on their way to India :-DDD
Last edited by Stahlmann on Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nomini
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Nomini » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:32 am

chenda wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:16 pm
Could you work remotely for your current employer ? Might be easier, I have several colleagues who do that, one who was working from Dubai for a while. Just like working from home.

A disadvantage you might find working for a US employer is the likely much shorter leave entitlement.
Unfortunately, I do need to attend certain things in person - too many to be commutable from the US - so I'm pretty certain my manager would not entertain the idea (there may well be practical barriers, too, such as not being permitted to take the necessary IT equipment out of the country due to security concerns).

However, a variant of your suggestion is 'could you work for your current employer non-remotely in the US?'. Again, I'd become rather focussed on the idea that UK govt jobs are UK based, so had missed this angle. Although suitable jobs e.g. at the embassy are rarer than hens' teeth, they do come up occasionally, and would be infinitely preferable to having to retrain, plus they would come with UK holiday allowance, subsidised (maybe even free) accommodation, paid relocation etc. etc. They're very competitve, so I'd probably need to take a major salary hit and a demotion to be in with a chance, but that has to be the most elegant solution I've heard so far.
fiby41 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:49 pm
Would you have to give up the healthcare benefits if you moved?
Yes, kinda. Not healthcare benefits specific to my job, but the general healthcare benefit of living in a country with free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare through the National Health Service.

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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by jacob » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:04 am

Read this: https://www.internations.org/expat-insi ... /usa-39854

It sounds like you also want to work in the US? This precludes cycling through tourist or business visas on a 90 day rotation.

The US takes a rather ambivalent (corporations) but ultimately dim (government) view to not following the rules when it comes to work. Note that this has historically been a grey-zone (reason there are so many illegal immigrants here) but this is changing fast. If you get caught, you risk getting run through the system (the ICE camps), then deported, then barred from entry for N-years.

IOW, you'd need either a non-immigrant or immigrant visa to get a job or stay beyond 90 days. These are getting rather harder to get. You might have noticed that the current administration is comprised of anti-immigrant hardliners(*) but that they are also depending on congress to change the laws which they won't because of their corporate backers (like food processing and agriculture and also tech companies) benefiting from the current system. Since congress won't, what the administration has done is to slow processing down, tweak it, and otherwise make the US appear unattractive to immigrants.

(*) It's not been pleasant to live in a country where politicians constantly talk about how bad/evil/etc. immigrants are. On the flip-side, I've never heard this kind of rhetoric from individual Americans, so if you can tune out the noise, it's probably not a problem.

At the top of my head, there's H1b which is the temporary foreign worker visa which is the "standard way". Many of these H1b's go to former F1s. You get that visa via a job offer through a specific company. If they fire you or you quit, you have to leave the country again. So basically, you're at their mercy. J1 is similar for academia. There's been some talk about increasing the requirements (e.g. min salary of $80k) since certain software companies were using this to import cheap programmers from overseas. I think such companies have been relocating to Canada/friendlier skies in the past few years.

If you work for a transnational company, there's the L1. Pretty much same deal as H1b except you're being transferred instead of finding a new job in a new (to you) company.

If you're a rock star, sports star, movie star, etc. there's the O1.

There's also the F1 student visa where of course you have to have been accepted to study somewhere.

You can also, if you have a lot of money, "buy" your way in with an investor visa---this is possible in most countries. IIRC, that's 500k of investments in some company. You can't just buy 500k of stocks :-P but there are lawyers, etc. set up for this angle. Sounds sketchy to me.

Most if not all of these can later lead to a green card which is like a permanent visa. Note that there are origin-country quotas on these which are not in proportion to the number of applications. For example, if you're from China or India, you might be SOL. I heard (need to verify) that the current waiting time for Indians is up to 18 years. (That's a long time spent scrambling for H1bs :shock: )

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There's also the green card lottery. I actually know two people who won it. The lottery is just like it sounds. You buy a ticket (it's free!) and maybe you win. It's actually open right now (just looked it up).

Also note that one way the administration has been able to achieve their policy goals of slowing down immigration is to increase processing times. Probably the best advice I can give if you do this is to hire a lawyer for the paperwork. I do this even for the simplest things now whereas I used to DIY some forms. One mistake and whoever is in charge of processing the paperwork can reject it and word is they're now encouraged to do so.

PS: Have you considered Canada? Panama? Belize? Malta? Singapore? Australia? Cayman Islands?

cimorene12
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:42 am

Yes to everything that Jacob mentioned.

1. Consider moving to Canada instead.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/financial-s ... a-from-uk/

You'll still get the challenge of moving to North America, and the process of getting in the door is substantially easier although it still might take years.

2. Australia might be fun as well, since you can use it as a base to jump back and forth from SE Asia. I was in Cairns in Queensland, and it was an interesting experience. Tons of people from different countries and cultures huddled around the Great Barrier Reef. As soon as you step foot out of the central business district (CBD), prices drop 50%. There's fairly steep informal tourist tax there, but if you stick around, you'll see what the locals do.

3. I love New Zealand, but I think it might lack some of the things you want. Since you are a public sector worker, I'd say to live in Wellington. But NZ is rather small.

4. Would you consider moving to Ireland? If earning 60k USD/year is the maximum you can make where you are and you're willing to retrain in IT or engineering, Dublin has a very vibrant software atmosphere, and a cursory search for jobs brought me here:
https://www.irishjobs.ie/Software-Engin ... -in-Dublin

chenda
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by chenda » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:57 pm

@jacob - Is there an issue with working remotely for a foreign employer whilst resident in the US ? Or is it legally ambiguous ?

I would second Canada, especially as a long term bet with climate change. New Zealand is nice but very isolated and small. Australia is overrated imo with a very insular, chauvanistic culture. I'd much prefer North America over Australia. Ireland is sufficiently similar to Britain that the only advantage might be low property prices in remote areas.

RealPerson
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by RealPerson » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:56 pm

After clearing the hurdles Jacob brought up, social security and medicare taxes would also be a major drawback for a relocation under 10 years. You have to contribute a minimum of 10 years over your working lifetime to benefit from social security and medicare. Under 10 years, you contribute a lot of money over whatever number of years, without ever enjoying the benefits. You cannot obtain a refund of those contributions when you leave the country, except if some very special cases.

I second the choice of Canada as a better emigration destination in your situation.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:29 pm

If you have ambition and are capable, come to the States. We would be happy to have someone capable.

You can make insane money here.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by ZAFCorrection » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:43 pm

@Jacob

Can definitely confirm for Indians. Both people in a family I know are mid-level managers with graduate degrees and have been working away for about a decade on H1B's. They periodically kick around the idea of moving to Canada, which one or two families that they know have already done. It's starting to become the consensus that the US is just not worth the hassle long-term, at least in that community.

cimorene12
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:23 pm

Mister Imperceptible, how thorough is your knowledge of dealing with USCIS? Jacob has done the paperwork to immigrate to the US as a Danish citizen, and he has spoken about the process before.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:38 pm

I am not speaking on the difficulty of emigrating to the United States. I was affirming Dr. Fisker’s statement that the US government does not speak for its citizens.
jacob wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:04 am
It's not been pleasant to live in a country where politicians constantly talk about how bad/evil/etc. immigrants are (unless you're from Norway :-P ). On the flip-side, I've never heard this kind of rhetoric from individual Americans, so if you can tune out the noise, it's probably not a problem.
I am not suggesting it is easy to get here and stay here. But if you can get here, I suspect the opportunities are superior to elsewhere.
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:29 am
Mr. Imperceptible’s peasant immigrant great-grandparents came from various corners of Europe, huddled in boats and came to America for opportunity between the two World Wars. They worked in factories, served in the military, and finally, Mister Imperceptible represented the family’s intellectual possibilities by going to college.

I am not here to wave flags, and talk about the merits of apple pie and baseball (though I do enjoy those things). I am suggesting that it is likely not a coincidence that so many of the best end up in the US as a result of serendipity. Mr. Imperceptible is extremely pleased that Dr. Fisker is here, and hopes he can stay indefinitely :D

I do think America is to Europe what Rome was to Greece. The intellectual inheritors and perpetuators of culture and civilization.

I think the current residence issues are dreadful. We have a president in office that is being draconian and anti-intellectual, and I do think that he is in office because as Dr. Peterson contends, the universities have encouraged identity politics that have divided the nation. (I know you’ve disagreed that identity politics are why Trump got elected, but we elected Obama twice. The country didn’t go from being racist, to not racist, to racist again.) That these horrible political extremes are gaining power and influence is a negative development, and a symptom of decline.

Did the residency concerns exist for you before Trump? I in no way want to minimize that. American exceptionalism can only be restored by ensuring the influx of the best new blood.

TopHatFox
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by TopHatFox » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:47 pm

Nomini wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:48 pm


Retraining in something more portable (accountancy? IT? engineering? economist? - all sound perfectly interesting) might be possible, albeit expensive and time-consuming, but does anyone have any neater ideas about how to do it? I suspect that when push comes to shove, I don't want the move to the States hard enough to go to all that trouble (and if the answer is, "well it's just not possible without putting in a Herculean effort of some kind", then fair enough)
I'm technically studying to be in the public sector too, and yeah, being in the public sector is about as portable as saying you can handle a desk job; It's really not that portable aside from saying you can work in an office. That's why I've been thinking of trying to get something more portable, but you're right that the opportunity cost of re-training is high: more school, potential for more debt, lack of salary, etc. Entrepreneurship might be possible though, and so would coding. Or maybe asking your current job if you could be remote, or starting a consultancy if you've been in the field long enough and are on the older side?

TopHatFox
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by TopHatFox » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:49 pm

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 2:29 pm
You can make insane money here.
¿Cómo?

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:54 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:47 pm
starting a consultancy if you've been in the field long enough

TopHatFox
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by TopHatFox » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:05 pm

Very true, that's a really good one! I wonder if it can be giving advice to US agencies about the European country of origin or similar. That'd be real cool.

cimorene12
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by cimorene12 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:30 pm

Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:38 pm
I am not speaking on the difficulty of emigrating to the United States.
Ok.
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:38 pm
I am not suggesting it is easy to get here and stay here. But if you can get here, I suspect the opportunities are superior to elsewhere.
Right, the immigration process is utterly brutal. Re: opportunities, perhaps...

To support Mister Imperceptible's point:
This article on negotiating 300k/year as a developer was mentioned elsewhere on ERE:
https://blog.usejournal.com/how-i-negot ... 1590f5c656
I was interviewing for my second job out of college with about two and a half years of experience without any particularly notable internships or employers on my resume; I went to a very small school that had zero known software companies at their “career fair”
But Canada provides access to somewhat similar opportunities and actually lets people in.

In the end, 100% of nothing is nothing. In contrast, 80% of something you will actually attain is better. Bird in the hand worth 2 in the bush, etc.
Nomini wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:48 pm
- The 'get up and go' vibe I feel far more when over in the States than here in Europe

Retraining in something more portable (accountancy? IT? engineering? economist? - all sound perfectly interesting) might be possible, albeit expensive and time-consuming, but does anyone have any neater ideas about how to do it? I suspect that when push comes to shove, I don't want the move to the States hard enough to go to all that trouble (and if the answer is, "well it's just not possible without putting in a Herculean effort of some kind", then fair enough)
In Canada, you will probably be able to obtain a visa (eventually). You'll be able to find a job that pays more than 60k USD if you retrain in software.

From the 300k/year article:
While the roles I was specifically pursuing were mobile positions,
I have a bias which I will disclose towards working on mobile applications, which I've done. There was a shortage of developers who could work on mobile apps, then there was a gold rush, and now there's mild shortage again. I believe if you pull together a portfolio of mobile apps that demonstrate that you understand the basics and start building up experience while living in the UK, you'll have doors open for you 2.5+ years down the road, which genuinely might be the amount of time it takes to get a visa for Canada using Express Entry.
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-re ... works.html

jacob
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by jacob » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:05 am

chenda wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:57 pm
@jacob - Is there an issue with working remotely for a foreign employer whilst resident in the US ? Or is it legally ambiguous ?
I don't know, but this should be figured out before getting on the plane, hence my recommendation to talk to a lawyer specializing in immigration when the travel plans differ from the standard touristy plan.

I realize a lot of people are being "creative" on this front, e.g. working as a bartender or teacher w/o the proper visa while traveling Asia, but in the US, they take this stuff very seriously these days. Hence the heads-up.

What I know is that a B1 visa (the business via equivalent of a tourist visa... the rubber stamp you get in the airport after being asked "business or pleasure?") allows you to go to conferences and otherwise "do business" in the US. I don't know if it'll proceed as smoothly if you say you're here to "work remotely as an accountant", say. This might lead to a longer interview in the backroom while explaining exactly what "working remotely" means. I also know someone this happened to; the issue was worked out within an hour and they were let through.

PS: "Resident" has a technical meaning and it can differ depending on whether it's for immigration or tax purposes, e.g. you can be a resident in one case but not in the other.

thrifty++
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by thrifty++ » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:03 am

I see NZ mentioned a couple of times. I don't recommend coming here. The pay is not high and its extremely expensive. Its the basics that cost a lot: food, transport, gas and especially housing. NZ has been ranked as having the most unaffordable housing in the world for the last 3 years in a row. To top it off, the housing quality is very poor, and would be unlike any you have experienced in the developed world. Its also very hard to migrate here now.

I like the idea of moving to the USA from a financial perspective. I definitely think its the best economically. Listening to USA based podcasts and reading USA based personal finance blogs I am regularly shocked at how high the pay is and how low living costs are, in particular housing. Its such a stark contrast to NZ. It would be so much easier to make progress and achieve financial freedom.

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