I have exactly the same problem. I'm from Russia and I don't have university degree so I can't get H1B visa right now (but I will when I have 12 years of exp).
US is really hard country to get in.
I relocated to Stockholm, Sweden since Sweden doesn't require university degree for work permit. Software developers are in shortage occupation list.
Sweden is easiest wealthy western country to get in.
If you will bored in Sweden, you can later apply to UK (as far as I understand Tier 2 General doesn't require degree either).
You can get your job in Hong Kong and Singapore without university degree but it will be a bit harder.
So I recommend Sweden. It's better to be normal employee in Stockholm than working for food in California.
Also, don't stay for a few months in US on tourist visa. Next time they ban you to issue new visa!
Once in Sweden you will either fall in love with the on the surface reserved people, or if you don't, work 5 years, apply for citizenship, then be a Swedish citizen (best passport in the world for traveling along with U.K. passport) and automatically a E.U. citizen, which means you can work anywhere in the E.U. without any limits at all. As a E.U. citizen and especially Swedish citizen it can be easier to get into the U.S. and Canada, I hear anecdotally. There are also sizable communities of almost all war affected ethnicities in Sweden you can socialize with. Stockholm is the most international city, you can live there a life time on English alone and not feel left out too much. Everywhere also you can still live on English alone, but the social life with locals will suffer if you don't learn Swedish, IMHO. All Swedes know English, but you will miss out on little chats etc. Also minorities often communicate more in Swedish than their native tongue, especially children of immigrants, so paradoxically to connect with your own kin, you also need to learn Swedish. Integration issues varies from place to place, there are some problems with racism especially towards people of color, but far from as much as in Germany. Also the racism is kind of specific and weird, if you are black but from the U.S. you are still almost celebrated by the Swedish locals.
TL/DR: Sweden is awesome. Easy to come in, if you love it, you will love it a lot. If you don't, become citizen then move on to the rest of the E.U.
Sweden is not California, but California is not Sweden. Why the pity party trying to stay in the US, when Sweden is welcoming--and a great place to live?
After I get permanent residence, I should live ANOTHER 5 years to get Swedish citizenship.
So it's 9 years in total, not 5 years.
Are you suggesting that the U.S. immigration authorities are banning people for using visas to their capacity, for their intended purpose?
If immigration officer has opinion that you are potential immigrant, he will refuse you a new tourist visa.
Or another definition:
If there is no clear evidence that you are not potential immigrant, you will be refused to get a new tourist visa.
For example, people often won't get US tourist visa:
1. Who spent too much time in US on tourist visa (even if they formally didn't break their limits);
2. Who previously had a visa under "Work and Travel" program;
3. Who are young single girl;
4. Who said that he/she has relatives or friends living in US;
I wasn't careful and said that I have a friend living in US. They immediately refused to give me US tourist visa!
I read several hundreds interviews with US immigration officers (people posted their experience after refusal) and I think I clearly understand how US immigration authorities made their decisions. But it's too late, I did it AFTER my interview with immigration officer.
I didn't want to stay in US illegally but immigration officer think so.
US immigration authorities are very, very, very suspicious about Russian and Middle East citizens.
BE CAREFUL WITH THEM!
Basically (from the page above) for a tech job:
* Valid Passport
* Job offer BEFORE traveling with average level salary
Edit: if you can get a job offer, that's much better than the asylum process. Waiting time for asylum decision is like 1 - 2 years and you are not allowed to work during that time. You may get in, especially if you face persecution in your country of origin, but your soul will be crushed in the asylum process. :-/
I think you can get work permit in Sweden without relevant work experience. But I think there is some risk for refusal.
You will be attached to your employer only for the first two years.
But work conditions are very soft here. Nobody push me work hard.