Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How can an Australian get a job in the USA?

I'm constantly amazed at the amount of traffic my immigration posts generate. I get at least one question a week from people who have found my blog through Google. I respond to every email and I'm more than happy to help, as I like the idea that I can demystify the process for some and help them avoid many of the mistakes I've made along the way. I'm going to make an effort to answer some of the more common questions I get starting with this post. A popular line of questioning relates to jobs and how difficult is it to get a job in the US, or if it is possible to get a job in the US from Australia. Before I start, I have to call out the image I selected for this post. It is part of a game we play at work when brainstorming called, "What would the world's laziest marketer do"? Generally the answer is either use the word smart in a product name or stick a picture of two hands shaking in front of a globe. It's our way of avoiding hackneyed and trite cliches. Unfortunately in this case, I couldn't think of anything better to use. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

E-3 Visa to Green Card for Australians

This is a blog post I have looked forward to writing for some time. According to the US Government, I am now classified as a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States, rather then the much more unfriendly title of Non Immigrant Alien. 5 years after moving to the US, I now have a green card. I think most understand the basic concept of a green card, in part thanks to the delightful rom-com "Green Card", featuring GĂ©rard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell. I will however lay out some background on the green card, the implications of having a green card and how I obtained one from an E-3 visa without transferring to a H-1B visa or resorting to a sham marriage to an American citizen where hilarity ensued. In my case, I was able to obtain my green card in less than 12 months from the start of the process.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Not Me, It's You

I recently completed a major culling of Facebook friends. Chances are you already know this, because there is a high likelihood you are reading this blog due to me posting about it on Facebook. I went from 851 friends to 319. So what possessed me to say goodbye to 532 of my nearest and dearest Facebook friends and what was my criteria for culling?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Liquidity of Labor

As part of a major restructure at my previous employer in Australia, I found myself with an American boss who was brought in from outside the company (no it wasn't Trump). In his initial session with the team, he ran us through a PowerPoint presentation to introduce himself and give us some guidance on how he wanted to operate. About 15 minutes in to the meeting, he pulled up a slide titled, "things that will get you fired". I vividly remember the uncomfortable looks on the faces of my colleagues in reaction to this slide. After the session, everyone was saying how shocked they were with the bluntness of this message. Having lived and worked in the US, I can now completely relate to and even in some way appreciate where my boss was coming from. 

The idea of a job for life is widely recognized as an outdated concept, so that certainly wasn't the source of our discomfort. Being employed at a big Australian corporation, I was certainly used to seeing people leave of their own volition or getting made redundant. However in my seven years there, I do not remember any examples of people getting fired. A firing implies that due to some gross negligence or non performance, you were told to seek opportunities for excellence elsewhere, usually in an abrupt fashion. Irrespective of your status as union v non union, there are government imposed rules and regulations in Australia that protect employees, along with internal company policies on the process for exiting an employee for performance reasons or making their position redundant. For a redundancy the payouts were usually quite generous. In fact the corporate intranet even had a spreadsheet you could download to calculate your estimated redundancy payout. So in reality it might have been quite hard for our new boss to "fire" us,  but we were still taken aback by his comments given we felt relatively safe in our jobs. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We Can't All Be Astronauts

Back in the 80s, I remember one of my Uncles telling me how he thought it would be an awesome idea to have a store with a few blenders that made nothing but fresh fruit smoothies. I thought it was a stupid idea, but I was probably only 7-8 years old, so what would I know? Therefore my Uncle invented Jamba Juice (or Boost Juice in Australia). Except of course he didn't really, because although he had the idea he never acted upon it. Now this might have been for any number of reasons, but most likely the reality of trying to support a family meant that he did not feel he had the opportunity to engage in a risky proposition like starting his own business. 

So this has got me to thinking a lot lately about the role of the entrepreneurs and startups in the economy and the associated general perceptions. There is no doubt that society has a large amount of admiration for entrepreneurs. Particularly in technology, founders are a highly visible part of a company and held in high esteem. Jobs, Gates, Brin, Page and Zuckerberg are household names. The ability to build a multi-billion dollar business in a short period of time from nothing but thin air is no doubt impressive.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Technology and the Australian Media

I have been at the Four Seasons Palo Alto this week for a company sales conference. It's a very nice hotel right in the heart of Silicon Valley, near a few small companies that do stuff with the Internet or something. Walking into the hotel this morning, I did a double take when I saw this sign in front of one of the conference/banquet rooms. For non Australians, New South Wales (NSW) is the most populous state in Australia, with 7.2m people, and Sydney is the state's capital (pop. 4m).

I was genuinely excited to see this sign. Days after my four year anniversary of arriving in America, I still get a kick out of little reminders from home. To me this sign was like Vegemite on toast. I have no idea of the agenda or the invite list, other than to wonder how my invite got lost in the mail. My impression would be the NSW Government are looking to build relationships in Silicon Valley. That they they recognize the importance of a vibrant technology sector to the ongoing growth of the Australian economy. That they believe NSW can be a center of excellence for high tech and what better way to learn than to come to Silicon Valley and learn from the best. That they can provide guidance and a pathway for Aussie entrepreneurs and companies to operate in the most competitive market in the world, which can only lead to good things for NSW. Any Aussie will proudly tell you about Australia's ability to punch well above its weight globally in any field, given it is a country the size of the continental US with a population the size of Southern California. It was pride that made me think this little piece of paper was significant enough to bother taking a photo with my iPhone. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

E-3 Visa Renewal in Mexico City

To paraphrase Mark Twain, sorry to write such a long blog post, but I did not have time to write a short one. For the tl;dr crowd, yes it is is possible to renew your E3 visa in Mexico City and it is a viable alternative to going to Canada or back to Australia. The visa can be obtained in as little as 3 days, and the waiting times to schedule an appointment are short. Read on for more detail on the process and advice.

The purpose of this post is to share my experiences of an E-3 visa renewal in Mexico City. It is not my intention to go into detail on the process of getting an initial E-3 or how to find work in the US, I'll leave that to another blog post. There is plenty of information on initial E3 application on the official government sites. There is also a great how to from Geoff McQueen on his blog that covers the process from the entrepreneur's perspective. This is useful if you find yourself wanting to manage the entire process yourself without the support of a company sponsoring you or engaging an immigration lawyer. Willing to be proven wrong, but I do not believe it is possible to gain your initial E3 visa in Mexico City, or any other foreign port, unless you are currently residing in that country. Edit: Have confirmed that it is not possible to obtain an initial E3 in anything other than your country of residence or Australia.