Do you consider foreign applicants?


I’m currently a 3rd year Industrial Design student applying for internships and I figured there was no harm in applying everywhere so while my aim was mostly to find something local, I also applied abroad on the off-chance someone was interested by my work (I’m Canadian btw).

My question is, do employers instantly disregard international applicants because of the costs associated with bringing them in? I mean this especially in regards to temporary workers like interns. I’ve done some research on places like the US, some European and some Asian countries, and seems I should be eligible to work there and in the case of the US, with minimal issues, but I couldn’t for example find specific numbers for some places as to if it would cost the employer anything.

I don’t doubt that there are probably local candidates more suitable than me for positions, but I was just wondering and wanted confirmation as to whether I should bother taking the time to write up applications for foreign firms if I’m already not considered based on my geography and associated reasons (assuming the job offering did not state anything about international applicants)? If that’s the case, I’ll concentrate all my time on local firms.

Any input is appreciated! Thank you

Brutal honesty: many studios won’t hire foreigners if it will cost them any money or inconvenience. Speaking just for USA: this will entirely depend on your visa status. There are several types. Some people get work visas which require minimum (or zero) effort from the employer, and some people require full sponsorship, which usually ends up costing the business a significant chunk of money.

I believe large corporations are far more likely to be helpful. They have systems already set up for sponsoring people, and they are accustomed to the cost (and can absorb it easily or just take it out of your salary). A tiny studio is less likely, unless your work is outstanding, or you’ve developed a great relationship with the owner.

Thanks for your response!

Yes I figured as much I just wanted to confirm if they even looked at my stuff or just tossed it in the bin. I also didnt know at specific costs, especially for the US since seems ID is eligible for TN-Visa status which doesn’t seem to require sponsorship, just employment offer.

During a phone screen for a consultancy job an HR rep told me that they have a lot of European designers because “they just seem to be better at it.” So some may view it as a plus.

On the flip side, the same company will not hire anyone living more than 1 hour away from their office for 95% of their positions.

This really depends on the place. Don’t give up sending your work out there.
It is true that quite a few firms have a rule against sponsoring but many consultancies here in the Bay Area for example are quite open to international applicants, if the it’s a good fit.

I am not sure how easy or hard it is for Canadians to work in the US, but for Europeans the J-1 Visa for interns and trainees is a much used way to get international designers into the country. It’s rather low cost and low commitment.
I would be an example of that route.

I had an internship at an American design consultancy as a Canadian, so it’s definitely possible. The toughest part is making sure the employers are informed about the visa process. Usually it makes them want to back off, but the ones who have done it always tell me that they don’t think it’s too difficult, expensive or time consuming.

I did my internship on J-1, not a TN. Most Canada-to-US interns I know did theirs on a J-1 too, but it’s definitely costly on your end (you’ll want to hire a company to do the paperwork for you, which runs around $1000). A TN would really simplify things, but the J-1 seems to be the standard for internships.