Author Topic: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?  (Read 3104 times)

moustacheverte

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I'm in Canada now and once I become a citizen, I'm aiming at a US job because of the weather and because money is so much better there. We don't want to live there forever but we want to earn the most we can while we're young and without kids.

I have a few questions:

1. For someone without a CS degree, how much experience does it take to be attractive as a foreign hire to a US company?
2. How complicated is the process of getting a visa and moving there in terms of processing time, papers, finding a place to live etc?
3. How bad is the healthcare situation? I hear insurance plans cost an arm and you're still left with a 10/15k deductible for every year, is that right?
4. How complicated/expensive is it to have a child born there?
5. How much better (or worse) is the after tax & expenses income? Are you earning more and saving more than you were at a comparable job in Canada?
6. How different is the culture (working hours, remote working, PTO) compared to Canada?
7. Did you have to go through a recruiter and lawyer or did your employe take care of everything?
8. Last but not least: would you recommend doing it?

reader2580

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2016, 03:37:21 AM »
If you're making the money of a software engineer your health insurance is probably not going to have a deductible of $10k or more.  Most people with large deductibles like that are either buying their own health insurance or they work for a small business that can't afford better insurance.  In my case I have a $250 deductible plus I have to pay 20% of all bills.  The max I would have to pay in any year is $3500.

ender

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2016, 07:18:30 AM »
If you're making the money of a software engineer your health insurance is probably not going to have a deductible of $10k or more.  Most people with large deductibles like that are either buying their own health insurance or they work for a small business that can't afford better insurance.  In my case I have a $250 deductible plus I have to pay 20% of all bills.  The max I would have to pay in any year is $3500.

This will vary greatly employer to employer, too.

My total out of pocket max cost as a single person (software dev) using a high deductible cost healthcare is about $1700. For an entire family it goes to about $6000 total. Keep in mind all this (HSA or healthcare premium) is all pretax too.

Goldielocks

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2016, 10:33:47 AM »
The only people I know of.. who did this..

Started working for a Canadian employer, with a US office branch, or US clients that they were exposed to and showed off impressive skills, such that they received an offer to move to the US to work from there.

Also look into the TN (or other work visa / green card) requirements.  See if you can get your own TN visa, to open up valid business travel to USA.  For my TN, I had to get a job offer first (even if only part time / occasional).   

Most employers will not want to do any paperwork for you, unless you have worked with them before, or they know you in some way. 
ETA - That means that most employers prefer to hire people who have valid work visas before those they have to put the application in for, and wait for, unless they want you very much. It is harder to get the offer.   Once the employer makes an offer, however, I would think nearly all will complete the paperwork for you as needed.


« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 11:37:05 PM by goldielocks »

bobechs

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2016, 01:52:18 PM »
Just to clarify, although you are not now either a U.S. or Canadian citizen you plan to become a Canadian citizen and that will be before trying to find work in the U.S., right?

If so, your immigration status in the U.S. will be determined by NAFTA rules, which is a much easier regime than trying for any of the visas applying to other nationals hoping to work in the U.S.

Being allowed to work and finding a job, especially without a degree, are two very different things.  Your real problem will not be Canadian citizenship but your resume.

On the other hand, as a Canadian it will be very easy to enter the U.S. and remain a while looking for work even as a non-immigrant and you should be at no handicap compared to an American with an equivalent work history.

Google Canadian + NAFTA + immigration (maybe add +software +engineer) to get started.


Financial Ascensionist

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2016, 07:52:30 PM »
I'm been working in the US for the past 4 years.  I don't have a degree, but I had close to 10 years of industry experience when I mode here.

1. For someone without a CS degree, how much experience does it take to be attractive as a foreign hire to a US company?
You don't need any experience to be attractive to employers, provided that you can demonstrate the right skill level, but you will need quite a bit in order to convince the USCIS to issue you a work visa.  Probably at least 5, this stuff must be documented somewhere; do your research.

2. How complicated is the process of getting a visa and moving there in terms of processing time, papers, finding a place to live etc?
This stuff is trivial for Canadians on a TN visa, just a bit harder for H1B.  Your future employer will help you with everything.

3. How bad is the healthcare situation? I hear insurance plans cost an arm and you're still left with a 10/15k deductible for every year, is that right?
Your future employer will most certainly cover everything.  If you are covered, healthcare service is really good in the US.

4. How complicated/expensive is it to have a child born there?
???

5. How much better (or worse) is the after tax & expenses income? Are you earning more and saving more than you were at a comparable job in Canada?
Tax is very comparable to Canada, but many parts of the US will pay way more for software developers, so you win by moving south.

6. How different is the culture (working hours, remote working, PTO) compared to Canada?
Just like in Canada, this varies a lot from one company to the other.  Don't believe anyone who makes broad generalization and inquire about the culture at the companies you are targeting.

7. Did you have to go through a recruiter and lawyer or did your employe take care of everything?
I left my new employer take care of all the relocation and immigration problems.  It really was a no brainer.

8. Last but not least: would you recommend doing it?
Yes!  Given how strong the US dollar is compared to the loonie and how easy it is to go back if you don't like it, you have absolutely nothing to lose.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2016, 12:07:18 AM »
There's a decent discussion about TN and other immigration pathways halfway through the thread "Immigration routes to North America"

Your other questions, while I know they are well meaning, are just too broad to answer easily, some might also be based on inaccurate information (the health plan you described would probably no longer be legal). Much like Canada the US is a big country, and software engineering can encompass a lot of jobs in a lot of different cities. Do you have specifics in mind?

CanuckExpat

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2016, 12:57:06 AM »
1. For someone without a CS degree, how much experience does it take to be attractive as a foreign hire to a US company?
2. How complicated is the process of getting a visa and moving there in terms of processing time, papers, finding a place to live etc?

If you are wondering about your specific situation, it might be helpful to say what, if any, degree you have now.
You are being pointed at TN and H1B becuase they are common, the first is most straightforward for Canadians.

If you have no degree, both of them will be trickier and require you to meet specific other qualifications.

moustacheverte

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2016, 09:00:17 AM »
1. For someone without a CS degree, how much experience does it take to be attractive as a foreign hire to a US company?
2. How complicated is the process of getting a visa and moving there in terms of processing time, papers, finding a place to live etc?

If you are wondering about your specific situation, it might be helpful to say what, if any, degree you have now.
You are being pointed at TN and H1B becuase they are common, the first is most straightforward for Canadians.

If you have no degree, both of them will be trickier and require you to meet specific other qualifications.

That's right, I should have specified. I have a business administration bachelor but worked as a SE every since I graduated. By the time I'll be a Canadian citizen, I'll have 4-5 years of experience in the field.

I don't have a specific job, company or area in mind because I'm still 2-3 years away from becoming a Canadian citizen.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2016, 10:27:45 PM »
Can you be a Mustachian in Silicon Valley?:

Forum thread about a Canadian moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. It devolves into a discussion about whether $200,000 income is a lot of money or not.
If that helps answer your salary questions a bit.. :)

moustacheverte

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Re: Canadian software engineers who landed a job in the US, how did you do it?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2016, 12:15:53 PM »
Can you be a Mustachian in Silicon Valley?:

Forum thread about a Canadian moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. It devolves into a discussion about whether $200,000 income is a lot of money or not.
If that helps answer your salary questions a bit.. :)

Thanks