Canadians working and living in the US?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by McPaul, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    Has anyone of you done this? Or are there any Americans that know any Canucks that came down on some sort of visa and successfully started a life in the states?

    I've been looking into it. The process does seem quite difficult. You can get something called a TN visa which lets professionals (I'm a Change Management Consultant) take residence down there. I know someone who has done this already. She moved down to the Baltimore-DC area and is working for a tech company in one of their clean rooms. She reapplies for the visa each year, and hasn't had any problems thus far. She will, but hasn't yet, applied for citizenship.

    I'm at the point in my life where I need a major change. I'm getting old, so it has to be made soon. I recently did a salary report for my current job on monster.com. I answered their short survey with answers that would put me at the lower end of the range, and when their graph came up, even the 25th percentile was DOUBLE (slightly more, actually) than what I'm making right now, and of course in USD. I'd personally be happy with what I'm making right now (ok, maybe a bit more), only in USD and have no problems with living down there.

    When my friend went down, she just started applying for jobs on monster and similar sites, they flew her down for a face to face interview after talking on the phone, and when they decided they were going to spend the money to hire her, they helped her out with all the forms, and a bit on relocation expenses.

    Of course I realize this would be like starting all over again. No credit. I'd have to give up a lot of things, including family and friends. It's obviously a big step, but I have thought about it somewhat.

    But I'd still consider doing it. I'd do it just to be able to get DirectTV and subscribe to the musicmatch download service!! [​IMG]

    I'd be interested to go to Durham, NC, Austin, TX, Sacramento, CA, Portland, OR, or pretty much anywhere, I think.

    Does anyone have some advice for me? Should I just give up on this pipe dream now? (I'm 32). Is there another route to take? I lost the link on the TN visa, I'll try to google it back and post it here.

    Thanks for any and all efforts to help!
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Ì know several, but they were all sponsored by their employer before making the move.
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    This is quite common around here, with Canada being just across the river. There are two Canadian citizens working in my group, and I believe there are several others in the company (I work for a healthcare IT company). Both used to live in Windsor while working here, but both now live in the U.S. Their circumnstances were different -- one married an American, while the other applied for and received permanent residency.
     
  4. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    The last time I looked into it things have changed so much since 2001 that its much more difficult to get into and work in US. Its also much more difficult for employers to sponsor people now then it used to be...I basically came to the conclusion that unless you're in the medical field or have a Ph.D your chances aren't very good of getting a decent visa.
     
  5. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    I'm an industrial/organizational psychologist and often work with change management consultants. I'm curious- what types of industries are you most interested in working with?
     
  6. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the answers so far, guys! It doesn't look good thus far. Unless someone here on the HTF would want to get married?? The offer's on the table!! [​IMG]

    Scott, I've over four years of experience working in Telecom. That would be my first choice. Additionally, I would be able to work with anything in the tech sector. I would love to work in healthcare, or education. Quite frankly, if given the chance to make this change, I'd accept, and be more than happy with anything.

    It's interesting you mention industrial psychology. I don't currently have contact with anyone in that field in my company. Now that I have the chance to think about it, that's insane. What sort of work do you do to support the change management consultants (or vice versa) in your company? I'm very curious now.
     
  7. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Depends. What kind of speakers do you have? [​IMG]
     
  8. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    WOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    first inquiry!! [​IMG] so much for romance, just go for the speakers!

    Paradigm Studio Reference 60v2, 20v2, cc, p2200

    perhaps I should put myself up on ebay...
     
  9. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    My spouse is Canadian and was working as a nurse in FL when we met. Getting a green-card wasn't too terribly hard for her. It is much easier if you are in a field with employee shortages, such as nursing and some tech fields. (I don't specifically know which)

    It was MAJOR HELL getting her permanent residency status after we were married. IT is NOT true that getting married (AND having children) make it any easier. I would strongly reccommend an immigration attorney. The hassles we faced were ridiculous. They lost documents, reassigned the paperwork, rescheduled meetings on short notice in a town 2 hours away, etc. Our congressman even got involved.

    As far as where to go, I'd suggest looking first at job opportuinities and second at cost of living. I grew up very near Sacfarmento (oh Lord, Stuck in Lodi Again!) It is a nice area, but state taxes are brutal and the cost of living is high. Look at state, county and city taxes and measure the cost of a 3bed 2000 square foot home (sort of an average, or index) to determine houseing affordability. Finally, go there and visit. Hang out at a bar and chat with folks your age and ask what they feel about the town and those nearby. Most folks would be happy to chat in the afternoon.

    I think that overall you'd be happy, just consider the area carefully.

    Oh, and get a job before you move.
     
  10. Drue Elrick

    Drue Elrick Stunt Coordinator

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    Based on my experience working in the US, I can make the following recommendations:

    - Whatever a company promises you, GET IT IN WRITING! Get it in your contract!

    - A TN work visa (yearly, renewable) is good for short term contracts but a pain if you are planning on staying permanently. A Green Card can take years to process and unless you get everything in writing, they'll (the company) delay and do nothing with it until you give up. TN work visas are good ONLY for the company that it was issued for. So, if they lay you off two years down the road, you'd better hope you can get something lined up within a month or two or you'll have to return to Canada. Even if you do line something up with another company and get a new TN visa issued, you may be forced to cross back to Canada for at least 48 hours (must spend a certain amount of time in you own country each year, though later TN renewals can be done by mail).

    - Figure in how much it is going to cost you to move back to Canada and re-establish a place to live. Unless you get something put in writing, you're on your own and it can be seriously expensive to move back.

    - No job is guaranteed. How confident are you that your job won't be downsized or offshored? Are you prepared for that happening within a few months of moving down there? (Unless you have some assurances in your contract with the company, you may be SOL and stuck with a 6-month or one year lease agreement and no job.)

    - Are you ready and willing to rent for years since no one will give you a credit card, loan, etc. because you aren't a permanent resident? In my experience, banks won't give you anything because not only do you not have a credit record in the US, but you are also someone who could up and run back to Canada and leave them with nothing. Bringing alot of cash to establish your own mortgage and such would help immensely, but don't count on it.

    - Are you planning on importing your car? You'll need to get the forms from the US gov't, plus do state inspections and plates and so forth. Importing or moving your goods? Better document everything down to the letter, especially if you think you may be bringing it back to Canada later. It'll save you alot of pain to have the documentation done now.

    - Be prepared for differences. The medical system in the US is heavily commercial so make sure you go through any medical benefits with a fine toothed comb. You'll be paying for anything that isn't covered. You'll be paying for insurance on alot of stuff as well - bring your driving and house insurance records or have your Canadian insurance company ready to be able to fax down your records so that you can get a decent rate.

    - Lastly, don't count on moving down there first then getting work. It won't happen these days. You'll need a company to sponsor you so make sure they don't take advantage of you. This is a non-trivial move with added expenses.
     
  11. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    RE; Credit; A Canadian Visa Card (credit card) is perfectly acceptable in the US. For other loans, such as car or home, it is not uncommon for lenders to pull canadian credit reports.

    So, no, you won't have to start all over on your credit. Your credit will likely be more affected by the new job and new residence than by your immigration status. (presuming your Canadian credit is good)
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Things have changed a lot over the years. I had a girlfriend in the 1980s whose two brothers not only moved to the US illegally with their (large) families, but were also able to get loans in the millions (they were developers) through the banks down there. Their kids went to school, I think the only thing they couldn't do was vote. They were eventually naturalised.

    In the '90s, anther girlfriend was looking into emigrating to Canada, and it was advised that she should forget it unless she got a lawyer, and passed a whole whack of imigration tests. I would assume it is even more difficult now.

    My sister worked in the States for a while on a sponsorship, but her employer renegged on their agreement when she got there. This apparently happens quite often.

    Proceed with caution, and talk to a lawyer. That should give you a better idea about what your chances are.
     
  13. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Be careful...the salary may look attractive, but the cost of living is very high in the US compared to Calgary and other decent Canadian cities.

    In fact, it seems that after adjusting for taxes, food prices, prices of HT equipment, DVDs, alcohol, etc., there are few places in the US that can compare to the cost of living here.

    I believe cars are much cheaper to buy and operate in the US however.
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Right and you have to admit that living in Calgary isn't exactly cheap...I mean if you take your sallary that you're making now out there and see what it would do for you in say Winnipeg you'd be amazed at how much further it would go...seriously even with our HOT housing market prices aren't anywhere near what they are out there...so perhapse instead of going south consider going East[​IMG]
     
  15. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    Thanks guys.

    I have no car, so I don't have to worry about that.

    I guess the challenge is in finding a company who will hire me, getting them to sponsor me, and enter into a long term contract with them.

    I didn't realize that the cost of living was so expensive down there, Max. That's disappointing.

    Any ideas on finding a job down south with a company who will sponsor me with at least a TN visa? I suppose monster.com or the like would be the best I could do?

    Thanks again for the well written responses.
     
  16. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    The cost of living in the US varies broadly by region. Look close and you may see little difference, alot less, or staggering more than you are used to. It is all about location location location.
     

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