Where to Begin?

I think the hardest part once you come to the conclusion that you want to work in the US in some capacity is what to do next. So many go to work in Europe or Teach English in Africa, Asia and South America relatively easily (costs aside) that the whole US systems just seems like one of 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzles when you first tip it out of the box.

The Good News is outside of Canada, Australia probably has it better and easier than any other country in the world.
The Bad News is that it is relatively easy only because all the countries have it extremely tough.

Before I ever moved to the US, the only way I had ever heard of working here was Camp USA. A few of my friends did this, spending a Summer in the US at one of the huge amount of Summer campas around the country for kids as a counselor. Now for most of you reading this is probably not what you had in mind but for those that do, I will devote some time to it in future posts. As a quick FYI, if it is this program you want to participate in, it is the J1 visa you will require.

Now for the rest of you who want work in a more formal capacity. There are 5 main visas that a majority of you will fall under to work in the US and then there are 2 main visas for students and training.
The working visas are; (H1B, H2B, J1, L1 and E3) and the student training visas are; (F1 and M1).

To note there is also an O and P class of visa for individuals of exceptional ability in their chosen field (you have to prove you are top 1-2% in the world…and often used by athletes, famous entertainers, highly acclaimed professionals, etc.).

The I class of visa is for journalists.

The B class of visas is for those wanting to commence a business in the US which requires a huge capital amount and/or commitment to employ US nationals among other things so has very strict conditions attached. There are numerous other visa classes and sub-classes within both these and all the ones I mentioned above covering diplomats, treaties, other foreign nationals, etc.
There is also a tourist aspect for the B visa for those country’s nationals that are not covered under the visa waiver program, however again that does not allow you to work.

It really is a world unto itself and when you get to the US, you will realize that most Americans not only don’t understand anything about the system, they are barely aware that any of this even exists. If only they knew 🙂

So my first piece advice really boils down to these questions;
– What do you exactly want to do?
– What will you settle for as a minimum?
– How much of an initial financial commitment can you afford?
– Which region do you want to be in?
– Who are you now?

Say for example you want to work in IT, you will settle for as a minimum a just above entry level position, you can commit $5,000, you want to work in California somewhere and you are currently a middle level manager. Well more than likely you are going to need to do most things yourself (I assume you have no US contacts) and have to take one of two risks.

You either have to travel to the US as a tourist and devote yourself completely to applying to positions and hope to secure a position without incurring too much cost. Alternatively you could try do the applying from Australia and hope to set up interviews and then travel to the US. The obvious risk you run with the first option is all the costs of travel, accommodation, internet, etc. but the risk of the second option is that I found and have heard US employers are very reluctant to even contact or call back someone if your phone number (and also address) is not US based. You can overcome this by setting up a US number through a service like Skype but you really should be able to answer the phone during US business hours then which is often inconvenient hours for you.

Just with this one example you are starting to see the first set of hurdles you immediately face. In my many of my upcoming posts I will give you heaps of tips and resources to minimize both the cost and risk to yourself as well as more sneaky ways of doing things.

So please think about those questions until my next installment and as always look forward to your questions and comments.


7 thoughts on “Where to Begin?

  1. Is there any agency in Australia, which could actually organize a job in the US for you? Otherwise, sounds like only a very small percentage of people can actually find an employer and get E3 visa….Then what was the point in creating such a visa?!!!

  2. Hi Alex,
    All US visas are pretty much like this when it comes to work. It is just that this one is easier than the others. The best companies are almost Multi Nationals that you already work for and maybe can transfer to a US office. There is an organization CXC USA (cxcusa.com) but it wont fit everyone and not sure how good it is either as it is mainly for consultants. Beware companies like H1Base who promise a lot but are a complete waste of your time and money!

  3. “In my many of my upcoming posts I will give you heaps of tips and resources to minimize both the cost and risk to yourself as well as more sneaky ways of doing things.”

    Im interested in the sneaky ways…cos I am exactly in the same fix. how do i get that H1B job without actually risking travel to the US?


  4. Hi Prad,
    Well each of the posts I share some of the “sneakier” ways meaning the ways that majority tend not to do but are not illegal. Look the best way to get any work visa job is being in the US. So whether that means you are here on a J-1 visa, F-1 visa or a tourist visa like the B-2 visa then so be it. The H-1B visa is tough now b/c applications won’t reopen until April 2010 and even if successful, you won’t be able to work until October 2010 unless you are on some status like OPT from an F-1 visa which allows you to work. The best thing I can suggest is coming to the US on one of these other status if you are not already here and give yourself time to apply. It is not a cheap route but in many ways tends to be the only route that allows someone to succeed.
    Good Luck,

  5. I am currently working over the westcoast on E-3 visa. I believe I quality for EB2 (born in India). The question is, have there been any success stories E3 to EB2 given it takes forever to get this visa approved?
    Thanks in advance

  6. Hi Neil,
    There are many success stories for the EB2 visa for India. It is just unfortunately takes a long time.

  7. Hi Cj,
    I’m a Social Worker from the UK looking to practice in the US. I am really struggling with where to start. Can you please help me get started?

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