I recently did some contracting work for a US based startup. I am based in Australia and the startup was in Seattle. I am in this weird area because I am self-taught and have no college/university degree and fall just under the 12 years required experience to substitute for a degree. The rule is 3 years of proven work experience for every year of a standard 4 year degree. So no visas applied to me I could apply for.
I eventually just took a remote contracting position with the company and flew over for the maximum 3 month stay and travelled around. During my time there I encountered a lot of taxi/Uber drivers who immigrated from various countries and nothing personally against them, but I have a unique skillset that this startup was looking for and was struggling to find themselves and yet it is impossible for me to travel and work in the USA? Once again no offence or ill-will, but how is it possible for someone to move to the USA to drive a cab, but a developer can't actually get a job in the US? Kind of perplexing.
Comparatively, Canada make it easy to obtain a work/stay visa for an initial period of 2 years and I believe you can keep extending it. You don't need any academic qualifications or jump through any massive hurdles. Why is the US like this, especially with a close ally country like Australia? It's the same story in the UK, if not, you get even more scrutiny trying to get into the UK for work. But as the author writes, the skilled immigration problem seems to be affect people from everywhere.
Meanwhile, if you're illiterate but from Chechnya, you get a free apartment and welfare checks here courtesy of the taxpayer, because apparently "the situation is political". It's ridiculous.
They will not teach you anything useful. Not even when you apply for CS. They exploit the post-soviet system.
And there are many good people in these countries. Not exceptional, not 1% of mathematicians,physicists or ninja programmers but better than the average.
Yet they did not get a chance.
This is false. The US has both economic and family-based components of the immigration system, and the former part includes subcomponents for which special skills are a key factor.
> Why should we import parents with no guarantee they will do anything but need expensive Medicare and Social Security in old age?
Social Security eligibility and benefit levels are based on payments made into the system during working years.
It's not false. There is no skilled permanent migration system like what Australia has. Over there, you can get permanent residence by being young, educated, skilled and proficient in English -- without a job offer. There is no such method here in the US. In addition, our temporary work visas are extremely limited and cumbersome and capped. The system clearly favors "family reunification" over skills.
The two sentence unit I responded to ("Nope, the US does not have a skills based migration system. It's entirely family based.") is false.
Its possible to define "skills-based migration system" in such a way that the first sentence alone is true, and it might even be reasonable to do so; you'd have to use an entirely unreasonable definition of "family based" for the second half to be true. There are family-based, employment-based, and diversity-of-origin (which is also skill-based, in that it requires either a specified level of education or a specified level of work-experience is selected employment areas) immigrant visa (which seems to be what you are referring to as "permanent migration") categories.
> Over there, you can get permanent residence by being young, educated, skilled and proficient in English -- without a job offer. There is no such method here in the US.
On a diversity visa, you can get permanent resident status by being educated or skilled in particular jobs without a job offer here -- you don't have to be young, but you do have to be from a country with a low level of immigration to the US.
> In addition, our temporary work visas are extremely limited and cumbersome and capped.
Most (temporary or permanent, including most family-based categories) visas are cumbersome and capped. But I'm not sure why you address only "temporary work visas" and continue to pretend that permanent immigrant visas are only family-based, when that is not accurate. There are immigrant (permanent) employment-based visa categories, as well as non-immigrant categories.
> The system clearly favors "family reunification" over skills.
OR, given the permanent employment-based visa categories -- and ignoring diversity visas for the moment -- perhaps it just prefers actual employment as the concrete evidence of useful skills.
Employment based immigration requires an employer sponsor to file a petition. Does not refute my point that there is no independent skilled permanent immigration scheme.
"Entirely" is an exaggeration but the system strongly skews to family based migration. This is not a wild assertion, it's widely known to be true.
All the quota-limited immigration visa categories are distributed, among those qualified, by lottery. Diversity visa aren't called "the lottery", the process for assigning all quota-limited visas is called that. The diversity visa is expressly skill-qualified, permanent, and independent of employer sponsorship.
> Employment based immigration requires an employer sponsor to file a petition.
True. For most employment-based categories, though there are several exceptions.
> Does not refute my point that there is no independent skilled permanent immigration scheme.
"independent" was never stated previously. The original claims were that there was no skill-based permanent immigration system and that it was all family-based. Permanent immigration to the US is not all family-based, as there are family-based, employment-based (most categories of which are skill-qualified), and diversity (which is skill-qualified) immigrant (permanent) visas.
- If you already are done with your studies, look for jobs at educational institutions. Universities, research laboratories, think tanks. They are exempt from the quota and can hire at any time of the year and outside of the quota.
There a few downsides. First, most of the openings at these institutions will require some kind of grad school. Second, these institutions are not known for paying the same salaries as big name companies in Silicon Valley. Third, you can not transfer the visa to another company, so if you get an offer from another company that does not share the quota-exempt status, you are back in the position of waiting until April and hoping the new employer doesn't fuck up the application and that there aren't 10 gazillion other applicants from IBM, Google, Infosys, Tata and the like.
- One hack: consider first moving to Canada. Their immigration laws are much saner in the US and are more merit- and qualification-based than the US. With a simple job offer you can get a resident visa in Canada. After 2 years as a resident you can apply for citizenship. And Canadian citizens can work in the US, under the TN visa.
With this you avoid all the crap about the H1B lottery and have a stronger position to work in the US after ~3 years. If I ever plan to be in the US again in the next 3-5 years, I would actually move to Montreal first.
However, applying for a Work Permit is still rather cumbersome (which is typically the first step after the job offer and before Express Entry) I just went through this process with an employee. While there is no arbitrary quota, the process does take between 3-6 months.
But overall the path to citizenship is much shorter than in the US.
And Canada has public healthcare. So, no need to worry about healthcare while you're self employed.
I liked Canada so much that I decided to stay here (Toronto, Ontario) and have been happy about my decision ever since.
Yes, taxes are a little bit higher, but the place feels saner and safer. Various levels of government are supportive of new businesses (lots of incentives, grants, R&D support programs), especially in technology sector.
[edit: to reflect express entry does not require 1 year of working in Canada]
With that said, the immigration laws are indeed saner and merit-based.
When I was more seriously looking, though, I read enough about it to make me pretty confident it could be done in 3-5 years. Of course I was starting with the assumption that I could get the job offer while I was living in Boston and enter Canada for job interviews as a visitor.
But the hack I described is as a way to possibly end up living in the US. Being an Australian citizen doesn't help much there, while being Canadian does.
The only downside is it's a non-immigrant visa so you come in on an E3 then convert to a H1B at your leisure and apply for a green card.
The irony is that you can get to US if you have a million to invest (if that hasn't changed yet), but if you have already made it this far, going to US kind of defeats the purpose - "If I can make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere".
For those with good English and tech skills without an EU passport, Dublin is a fairly good option. The work permit system is reasonable and the demand for skills is quite strong. There are also a lot of US companies with operations in Dublin, which opens the possibility for an L1 visa to get to the US.
I think UK companies should also consider setting up offices in Dublin, so they can get access to talent they can transfer to the UK using the intra company transfer visa, similar to companies in the US having offices in Canada.
They have to pay you at least the average wage for your position, experience and area.
At least from the other H1B folks I know, all of them get above average salary.
There is a lot of indian body shops doing consulting (infosys, ...) that are super shady, but if you work at a 'regular' US company, you should be fine from what I've seen.
To be quite honest I only knew US from the movies. Following news and recent developments I'm quite hesitant to move over there. Cops shooting people, riots, NSA tracking,...
My romantic view when I just started working in the dot com boom of US that bubble bursted. This doesn't mean I don't like the US. There are many good things also. In any country there are good and bad things. But I think there are other places maybe as good as the US which are worth exploring.
This might not be a popular opinion to spout, but I can't see it any other way. These illegals will almost certainly vote for Democrats. How do you expect Republicans to cooperate to welcome educated workers when you are expecting Republicans to commit political suicide?
US as a whole will hugely benefit from making the immigration process easier for educated workers like many other countries have done (Canada, UK, Germany, Australia etc), but this doesn't seem possible under current political climate.
Indians in America are the most promising. They are increasingly prominent in tech companies, on Wall Street and in government, especially in the state department. Around 1% of America’s population, over 3.3m people, are “Asian Indians”. Perhaps 150,000 more arrive each year, and 90% of them stay permanently. Devesh Kapur, who has studied them, talks of a “flood”. He says over half of all Indian-born people in America arrived there after 2000.
From a macroeconomic value addition perspective, this is an enormous tax base which also skews social indicators upwards.
He probably should've written 'these former illegals' to be clearer.
(example: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/12/obama-amnest... )
Democrats don't want to lose the image of being the welcoming mother, Republicans don't want to lose the image of being the strict but principled father. An immigration law that was based on qualification and possible economic boost by immigrant doesn't help any of them.
Basically this was why I left the US after almost 5 years.
I agree with your last statement but I don't think there is any political group who is advocating for making the immigration process easier for educated workers.
Yes, theoretically, the U.S. immigration law (and many other countries', too) favors highly skilled jobs. In practice however, it is far easier for low skilled workers to just overstay a visa. In 2012, the U.S. paid $18 billion to try and enforce immigration laws. Still, there are anywhere between 7 and 30 million illegal immigrants in the country, despite all the effort.
Billions for law enforcement, not a penny for social services...
This idea of being property of a state (other people) who is responsible for you and to whom you are indebted is madness.
Open the borders and stop this idiocy.
I also believe there will come a time, when all industrialized nations will open their borders, at least for honest immigrants. Preferably all those nations at the same time. Already, enforcement of immigration regulation is impossible in many countries. And the extent to which that regulation seems to be working might as well stem from the fact that most people, no matter how poor or desperate actually don't want to leave their home country.
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- Tri Tran, Co-founder & CEO at Munchery 
- Silver Keskküla, Co-founder at Teleport (ex-Skype) 
- Nikhil Aitharaju, Co-founder at Tint 
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Cost of employees as percentage of sales down :
Specifically : http://i2.wp.com/www.philosophicaleconomics.com/wp-content/u...
labor bargaining power has weakened substantially amid globalization
US citizens not as enthusiastic about more immigration as are the US elite: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100593528
as recently as 2012, 69 percent of those surveyed agree that "we should restrict and control people coming to live in our country more than we do now."
The MSM often only presents one side of the story.
There is NO evidence of US labor shortage.
In fact, with stagnant to down real labor prices, the only logical conclusion is that there is a glut.
Corporate and Academic control of more and more guest worker visas is not really a great idea.
For comparison, in the 80's when my father got a job at the FDA, it was signed, sealed, delivered and my family moved in just a few months in the mid of the year, well before all this became so complex. Kicker is I got a Greencard before we moved back, but unfortunately I was too young to realise what this meant or do anything about it...and it expired.
It is kind of ironic though that eventually he got the Green Card via the DV lottery. Had he been fired without that, it would have been a very difficult stretch to get a job within 30 days.
Considering how many smart and hard working people I've met who came here for college, and considering the outsized success the ones who managed to immigrate here have had, it seems kind of insane that we don't do more to keep them here. The lost tax revenue I can think of from personal connections alone is in the millions of dollars per year -- imagine how much economic activity that is!
US could definitely use some sort of medium-length work visa for startups (as opposed to small businesses/traditional companies).
The distinction between startup (or a company in a desirable industry/sector the country wishes to have more of) versus just any business is important to both stimulate growth and also be a selling point to nay-sayers.
I think the concept of employers applying for a green card for employees is fundamentally broken. It pits the interests of the employer directly against the employee, since it's in the employer's interest to drag out the process for as long as possible, and reduces job mobility (which brings down wages for everyone) because the green card process needs to be restarted if employees switch jobs midway, before the I-485 step.
A system where any legally employed foreign worker can file for a green card for themselves seems much more sane.
Anecdotally, it seems to me that wages for H-1B visa holders are only lower when the employer files for a visa for an employee who is outside of the country. In my experience as a student who went the F-1 -> H-1B route, salaries are the same whether or not you have an H-1B. The much wider set of employers that you can interview with when you are already in the country probably makes it infeasible for employers to pay their H-1B employees who were already in the US under a different visa less than employees who don't need a visa.
The fastest way to green card in US is genius visa, but you need the credentials to pull it off. It has a ridiculously high acceptance rate I think about 90 %.
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The system rewards those under H1B. There is no provision for entrepreneurs. Being a college dropout entrepreneur, from a non-caucasian country, what chance do I have?
I am reading Peter Thiel's book Zero to One. He talks about hidden injustices in our society. This is what comes to mind.
Disadvantages: Cost are huge, competition on talent is ultra intense. E.g. if you move from Spain, you need to spend incredible energy and time to get through visa pain.
Is it worth it? Depends on your case. IMO bootstrapping, not so much. VC heavy business, likely yes.
I've seen lots of competition to US startups never getting anywhere, while the US ones were pitching their stuff day and night, be it at conferences or the nearby Starbucks.
Wow, I never knew that. I would never have expected it to matter, since you can incorporate a company in the US while not being in the US, no problem.
It is easy to incorporate in US and there are various advantages to sheltering your non US generated assets in US.
Simple example, think of all those shell corps owning apartments in Manhattan.
I am not sure if FATCA bites back US on this front.
nowadays, do you encourage or employ people in same situation as you were?
1. Spouse is prohibited from seeking employment unless he gets his own work visa
2. 8 year wait for green card for skilled workers born in India
3. Gaming of the system by Indian outsourcing companies
4. The system (tying visa to employer and procedural inflexibility in transferring it) is such that it indirectly makes the visa-holder indentured to the company
5. Near-blind lottery system that favors outsourcing companies which apply for work-visas in the thousands (at which point, the lottery is a statistical bet for the company).
6. Near-blind lottery system that is heavily tilted against specialized (with a higher degree, for example) skilled employees who are critical to companies: if such a person loses in the lottery, the employer and the employee stand to lose a lot unlike outsourcing companies which operate on a sort of 'wholesale' basis.
What will your advice to someone with similar aspiration from a third world country?
Anyways, the easiest way would to be enroll in a US university. Most grad programs in STEM will give you significant financial aid if not completely paid tuition.
Another way is just applying for a job with a big international corporation and eventually they'll bring you on board.
Yet another way is J1 internship which you can use to do an internship here and see if you can find a full time job (much like OP did).
And finally you can always just keep applying for the Green Card lottery every year because you never know, you might get lucky. And the smaller the country you're coming from, the higher the chances of getting selected.
Should I finish my degree here or should I start applying to Universities in US? I was also planning to apply for internship in valley startups.
> you can always just keep applying for the Green Card lottery
Unfortunately, my country is not eligible for Greencard lottery.
It seems they care more and more about megacorp job creators than others.