UK to USA Visa problems - got great job but no visas avail.


I just got back from the final stages of an interview for a Design Research Specialist position with the fantastic (and super friendly) worrell (.com). I’d done a design excercise for them to get to phone interview 1, then after phone interview 3 they invited me to the states for 5 days during which time i lived with the designers i’d be working with and had a further 2 intervies and did some small analysis projects with them.

They offered me the job today but there are visa problems. The quota of visas for working in the US is met and there will be none available until at least october. They have 3 law firms looking into it - at one point it seemed there were excess visas available for people with masters degrees (which i have) but the last few got snapped up last wednesday!

The company really need someone in for the job and i’m worried that all this visa time may put them off. Does anyone have any bright ideas of what i could do, or has anyone been in a similar situation themselves??

Thanks very much, my life hangs in the balance!!


I wonder if they’d let you work ‘remotely’ iuntil this was sorted out?

In this day and age, surely working outside of an office poses less problems?

Ok, it’s different for me because I work for myself, but I’ve only been at home a few weeks this summer and it’s been business as usual, thanks to the internet.

I read today that there are about 1200 places left for masters and PHD degree holders. Maybe those have been snatched up too.

How long can you stay on a temp visa? 90 days? IS that enough time?

This is a tough one, unfortunately there are no easy answers. But here is what I know.

The H1-B and other typical work permits are going to be a bitch to get, especially if the company has to prove that there is a shortage of qualified US citizens for the position (which there aren’t). This isn’t just because of the applicant search info, but also because there is a major shortage right now of people in hard sciences and companies like DuPont, Monsanto, Dow, and others are going to take the majority. Pharmaceutical companies are also going to take a lot of H1-B’s along with the inter-office transfer visas.

I also heard that H1-B apps were closed for 2006 as of this past friday. The only ones that are still available are reserved for people from countries that we have trade agreements with. Unfortunately the UK isn’t one of them. The numbers have been going down pretty much every year, the 2006 quota was 65,000. They do reserve 20,000 for people with masters degrees and phds but you have to have received the degree from a US school, and pretty much be moving straight from school into a job.

I’ve advised a few people on getting into the country to work and the best way under the current crackdown is to get a job with an international company. If you work at the London office of say General Electric, they can submit an interoffice transfer visa application which will let you go to work at any US office. You also have greater freedom of movement in and out of the country so you can go home to visit family or friends without worrying about getting back in.

This is a longshot but you can also try and have the company try and assist you in getting an O-1 via which is for extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or Athletics. You have to apply at the consulate in London and your employer has to do some paperwork on this end. You basically have to prove that you are a badass in terms of artistic talent. The government will usually want to see a stack of published articles that you have written, a stack of published articles with people raving about your talents, and a big fat list of awards and honors. There are also some other details but you get the idea.

Hang in there it is possible, you are just getting a late start on things for this coming fiscal year. You need to also remember that there is a lot of pressure on the government right now to crack down on immigration not only to block potential terrorists from entering but also to control the illegal immigration problem on the US-Mexico border. You might not have heard but there are currently armed citizen militias patroling the border arresting Mexicans that try to cross. A recent poll also stated that 40% of Mexicans would rather live in the US, even if it meant crossing illegally so government people are freaking out on the border.

Being someone who is in the U.S. on an H1-B right now, I will shed some light for you.

The good news is that the visa cap gets rolled over in October every year (in-line with the government fiscal year), so the new visas will open up again at that point. Note that the visas ran out the first day they were opened this year, so you will have to co-ordinate with your lawyers very precisely to get on that boat.

So, if you tell the employer that you’ll be there in a month or so, they should understand. They opened up a few visas a month ago to let in some highly qualified people, but it looks like you might have just missed that deadline by a few days, which sucks.

I’m working on my greencard now, which is a MUCH more tedious process. But, if you were Canadian (like me), you would be eligible for a TN (Nafta) visa, which has “Industrial Designer” as one of the visa jobs (meaning there is a clear shortage of these workers in the USA.

Good luck in October!