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Big decision - career advice etc.

Big decision - career advice etc.

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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 1:36 am
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Exclamation Big decision - career advice etc.

Hi All,

A bit of background - I'm currently finishing up my PhD in chemistry, and have a BSc and MChem already. Obviously... I'm now at the point of applying to, interviewing, and receiving job offers.

So here's my current situation - I have a job offer for somewhere here in the UK, with a pretty good salary, and doing something I enjoy. The official offer and contract are currently being drafted. I have also interviewed for a job in NYC (multiple phone interviews, and on-site all-day interview), and they have now gotten back to me asking for references - I imagine that providing these all come back alright, they'll offer me a job.

Obviously, I've done my research, and I know that I need a visa - probably a H1B (99% sure there's no other visa that would apply to me) - and I also know that there's a lottery on a H1B, that it needs to be filed pretty quickly (by April), and that there's only something like a 25% chance I'll get the visa at all...

So... I obviously would love to go and work in NYC - opportunities like that just don't come along that often - but I'm absolutely terrified that if I turn down the UK job in preference of the NYC job, I'll end up not getting a visa, and back at square one. Once I finish my PhD, I'm screwed financially if I don't have a job (that's what being a student for 8 years will do for you)...

I guess my specific questions are:
1. What would you do in my situation?

2. Do I have any other options than the H1B visa? (The company is not cap- exempt, I'm not going to get married any time soon, and I don't have any US relatives)

3. Should I just give up on the idea of NYC and accept the UK job?

Sorry for the stupidly long post, and thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 1:44 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

1. In your situation I would take up the UK job. This would provide a safety net. If you're then intent on a job in the US I would then make steps to make this possible - e.g. trying to get a job with a UK/US multinational or applying to a company that would sponsor H1-B.

2. Perhaps if you can demonstrate extraordinary ability there is O-1. Or as mentioned move intra-company. You could also look at hooking up with an American!

2. No, but perhaps make it a long term aspiration.

Last edited by tom169; Feb 22nd 2017 at 2:26 am.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 1:50 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Re: 1 - the NYC company would definitely sponsor the H1B, and they are a multi-national company... the lottery thing is the bit that is concerning me, not the sponsorship. Sorry if that was not clear.

Thanks.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 1:52 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by compchemist View Post
Re: 1 - the NYC company would definitely sponsor the H1B, and they are a multi-national company... the lottery thing is the bit that is concerning me, not the sponsorship. Sorry if that was not clear.

Thanks.
I understood, but my advice would be to forget the NYC company for now and take the UK job. Then revisit the move after.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 1:57 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

If it was me I would accept the UK job and see how the US one pans out. If you get the job AND visa you can always resign from the UK job to take the US one. Not ideal, I know, but life is short and you may not get the opportunity again. Good luck!
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 2:13 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by Wibblypig View Post
If it was me I would accept the UK job and see how the US one pans out. If you get the job AND visa you can always resign from the UK job to take the US one. Not ideal, I know, but life is short and you may not get the opportunity again. Good luck!
Me too.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 2:19 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

If the company is British an E-2 might work.

Also, with a PhD, and presumably some articles and conference presentations under your belt, an O-1 is definitely within reach. Contrary to popular belief you don't need to be a Nobel Prize winner to qualify for an O-1. It would require an experienced lawyer to put the application together though.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 2:19 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

^^ What they said. If you don't score an H-1B in the lottery this time around, you could try convincing the NY company to sponsor you for an O-1 (extraordinary ability) or employment-based immigrant visa instead. Either (both?) of these may take a while, but in the meantime you will be accruing valuable work experience in the UK. Win-win
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 2:51 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by compchemist View Post
Re: 1 - the NYC company would definitely sponsor the H1B, and they are a multi-national company... the lottery thing is the bit that is concerning me, not the sponsorship. Sorry if that was not clear.

Thanks.
Why not work for them in the UK first then after 3 years you can transfer to their US office under a visa other than the H visa, i.e. L visa, perhaps. If not employed by them in the UK, after time you can go the way of the O visa as per Pulaski's post. This offer is not the one and only way for you to get an opportunity to work and live in the US.

Last edited by Rete; Feb 22nd 2017 at 2:53 am.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 3:07 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Even if you win the lottery, you won't be starting until at least October. So I'd go with post #5.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 3:41 am
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
Why not work for them in the UK first then after 3 years you can transfer to their US office under a visa other than the H visa, i.e. L visa, perhaps. If not employed by them in the UK, after time you can go the way of the O visa as per Pulaski's post. This offer is not the one and only way for you to get an opportunity to work and live in the US.
I believe that for L visas, the requirement is to work for the non-US entity for 12 months, not 3 years.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 12:32 pm
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
I believe that for L visas, the requirement is to work for the non-US entity for 12 months, not 3 years.
Even better.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 12:58 pm
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
I believe that for L visas, the requirement is to work for the non-US entity for 12 months, not 3 years.
Yup. It's to have worked 12 months within the last 3 years.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 1:29 pm
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Yup. It's to have worked 12 months within the last 3 years.
I think it has to be a continuous block of 12 months too, and you have to deduct any time during that period spent in the US.

So if you started work at the non-US location on 22 Feb 2016 but spent two weeks in Florida on Holiday in August 2016, and two weeks visiting your employer's US factory in November 2016, then you would only reach the 12 month requirement on March 22, 2017.
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Old Feb 22nd 2017, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: Big decision - career advice etc.

Originally Posted by AdobePinon View Post
Even if you win the lottery, you won't be starting until at least October. So I'd go with post #5.
me too. I have been in a similar situation in the past (accepted a job while another application was in process). In my situation I found that I actually liked the job I accepted enough to turn down the other one, but there was also an element of feeling obliged to my employers which I should have discounted.

These days however, I think you should feel no such obligation, the old British industry days of benevolent employers looking after their employees as family are long since gone (when I first started in chemistry it was people like ICI, May & Baker, Wellcome, Fisons, Beechams). Starting off your career with a short 6 month stint at one company will not be any harm whatsoever long-term, especially if it is explained by an exciting job offer in NY. If you do leave, try and do with dignity and on good terms as it is sometimes startling how small the industry world is and who you'll meet again in years to come. Some companies offer "golden hellos" to STEM graduates that may need repaying if you leave early etc, so read your contract carefully.

Best of luck, you're in a great position to have potentially two good jobs to chose from!
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