Getting a working Visa

Time and time again when looking for jobs, for example on coroflot something along the lines of

“Candidates who are not US citizens or permanent residents need to have authorization to work in the US in order to apply.”

The problem I have found with this is that when trying to obtain a Visa for either the US or Canada on the embassy website’s, they tell you that your unlikely to be granted a working visa unless you have a job offer lined up.

This seems like a big circle to me and I wonder how it is even possible to find work abroad? The only way I can think of is through a company transfer.

I appologise if something similar has been discussed before.

Yes, it ha been asked a lot earlier. Try searching the threads and I think you’ll find some info.

AFAIK, yes, it is next to impossible to get a visa for the US unless you are sponsored by the company (ie, already want to give you the job). Canada though might be different. I think I remember hearing that as a Canadian you can get a special visa for the UK since we still got he Queen on our money here, but not sure how it works, if it’s true, or if it goes both ways.

The internet is your friend.


p waddy,

I moved from the UK to Canada about 9 years ago and it is a bit more of a difficult process since 9/11 I am sure… they certainly tightened things up a bit.

That said it still can be done… my brother-in-law is from the UK too and he managed to get his papers here even though he didn’t have a job lined up.

What I did, however, was write to all the retail design and display companies I could find online in Toronto and told them I would there for a week if they were interested in meeting with me. I met with 5-6 companies and I received one temporary job offer and one permanent… they were good enough to organise my 1 year work visa for me at which point I started my application for permanent residency (that takes a while). About a week before my work Visa ran out I got my Permanent status. All worked out well for me, I think I was pretty lucky in hindsight.

Thanks for those links rkuchinsky. I think your correct about the US one, I was there as a student working scheme last summer but the J-1 Visa is almost impossible for me to get again. Funny that you mentioned the queen being on the money… I enquired about internships in Australia and they don’t even allow UK product designers to gain experience there, or US and Canadians for that matter. Apparantly they dont want European’s, American’s, and Canadian’s ‘stealing’ their design ideas.

Thank you loafer, nice to know that it can be done. Its kind of annoying at how easy it is for people to come into the UK yet we have trouble going outside of Europe it seems. Considering i’m still looking for experience I may wait a year or so before attempting to move abroad until I am confident I have enough skills and experience to land me a job.

thanks again

the benefit you guys do have over us and most countries however is you can work anywhere in the EU (as I understand it). That actually is a much better trade-off IMHO as you have 20+ countries as options where in US/Canada at the best we have 2 or 3.


I think it has more to do with the convenience of hiring local talent rather than the fear of ‘stealing design ideas’. Every US job I successfully applied for (from Canada) had the note: “Candidates who are not US citizens or permanent residents need to have authorization to work in the US in order to apply.”, yet I ignored it and continued to apply. It all comes down to what you have to offer and the hassle employers have to overcome to get that talent.


Marry an American.

just kidding, of course that’s not realistic… I’ve know several British and Canadian designers that have done it successfully. Very high skill levels and perseverance did it for them , and I do not think it was easy for the British friend in particular. He told me that he flew into SF several times on his own dime to secure a temporary spot which later turned FT

I thought Austrailia was actively inviting skilled foreign workers - Does ID not count in their migration program?

it’s just relative… in the US, there are LOTS of foreign born people around you, just as much immigration (or more maybe) than the UK

Re Australia, if you’re under 25 you can pick up a one-year working holiday visa very easily if you are from the UK. You are not meant to work for one company for more than 3 months (around that I think anyway), but I’ve know a lot of people that have had no problems getting around that. If you want to stay permanently it is probably more tricky though.

I have heard that one quite a lot ‘Marry an American’ When i visited in the summer people kept saying go to Vegas and do it haha. Not a bad idea about going over on visits with work and doing walk in’s. I wasn’t really prepared for that at the time although I did visit a few big companies to ask about their hiring process.

I’m going for a job interview next week so I will see how that goes as it will change any other plans if i get it. Then maybe after a year or 2 im more employable anyway and could move abroad.