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Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Old Mar 4th 2014, 5:50 pm
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Default Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

One of my UK friends was offered a job in Chicago last week. I was excited for her and congratulated her, but what she said next threw me off: she asked me what visa she'd need and whether I knew of any lawyers who could help her pick a visa for the job. She said this company's HR department is small, so she's "going to have to do a lot of the legwork".

My understanding is that if a company offers you a job, the visa is their responsibility to sort out. If they don't know much about the visa process, it's still up to them to figure it out, isn't it? I mean isn't this where tons of people get messed about: offered a great job by a company that has no clue about the fees and work involved in getting a foreign worker into the country and then backing out when they see what's involved?

I hate to think of my friend, who's been offered a pretty crappy salary for a city like Chicago, spending her own time and money calling lawyers and doing her own visa work. But maybe I'm wrong on this and it's normal to "help out" a company when getting a work visa? Just sounded like an instant red flag to me.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

You are correct Rose.

Your friend takes no part in the employment visa process other than to provide information to the employer/employer's agent.

The company that has offered her a job must take full responsibility if obtaining a visa for the purposes of employment.
If they do not have the resources internally they should consider hiring a qualified specialist.

If you don't mind, do you know the kind of job and have they offered a relocation package?

Last edited by Hotscot; Mar 4th 2014 at 6:45 pm.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 5:58 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

She can't apply, the employer has to. Its also illegal for the immigrant to pay for the visa side of things. Seems like she should decline as the issues will only get worse from here.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:00 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

We had a thread like that last year here on BE. A job offer to a non-USC or USPR with no visa isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Unless you have a US spouse or $500,000 to throw away on an investment green card there is no mechanism for someone to obtain a visa without their employer applying for a visa for them. Sorry, but that ain't gonna fly.

Last edited by Pulaski; Mar 4th 2014 at 6:11 pm.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by Rose tea View Post
One of my UK friends was offered a job in Chicago last week. I was excited for her and congratulated her, but what she said next threw me off: she asked me what visa she'd need and whether I knew of any lawyers who could help her pick a visa for the job. She said this company's HR department is small, so she's "going to have to do a lot of the legwork".

My understanding is that if a company offers you a job, the visa is their responsibility to sort out. If they don't know much about the visa process, it's still up to them to figure it out, isn't it? I mean isn't this where tons of people get messed about: offered a great job by a company that has no clue about the fees and work involved in getting a foreign worker into the country and then backing out when they see what's involved?

I hate to think of my friend, who's been offered a pretty crappy salary for a city like Chicago, spending her own time and money calling lawyers and doing her own visa work. But maybe I'm wrong on this and it's normal to "help out" a company when getting a work visa? Just sounded like an instant red flag to me.
I can only offer my personal experience. Obtaining a "work visa" is the responsibility of the employer - but some are too small or ignorant or clueless to know much about how to do it.

After completing a PhD in 1996, I took a job at a state university, initially on what is called the OPT/EAD route (lasts for a year). Following that, "I" needed to get an H1B visa (or more correctly, my employer needed to get an H1B visa to continue employing me).

The university used to process all of this for stuff via their international experts in their International Office (who also dealt with international student visas). They literally used to take care of it and just asked you for any information needed. However, about 5 years earlier they stopped doing this (couldn't be arsed, essentially). I ended up paying an immigration attorney $3,000 to make sure the H1B process went smoothly. I could have done it myself but I didn't want to risk screwing it up. Essentially, my attorney told my employer what it needed to do, or provide, in order to get the visa.

My next US employer was more accommodating - they processed all visas/work permits via their International Office.

When a US company hires an international, two people can benefit - the employer and the employee. Some employees are in a very strong position to play hardball when it comes to negotiating (because they have truly exceptional talents). In other cases, it boils down to the fact that the employer could possibly hire a US citizen with similar skills, and so the employee (your friend) has to decide how important it is for her to live and work in the US. As this forum shows, some people are pretty desperate to live in the US ...
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:05 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Thanks for the responses. She's very eager to help out her employer as a friendly gesture - as I see it, friendly gestures are for friends. Not employers. If she's the one contacting a lawyer, finding out visa options, then forwarding all that info to the company...well, I'd want to be compensated for that, if it was even legal to do.

Originally Posted by hotscot View Post
If you don't mind, do you know the kind of job and have they offered a relocation package?
It's a graphic design job for a small outfit. I hugely doubt there's any relocation package. I'm picturing a small, well-meaning company who wants to hire my friend but has no idea what's involved.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:09 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by Rose tea View Post
It's a graphic design job for a small outfit. I hugely doubt there's any relocation package. I'm picturing a small, well-meaning company who wants to hire my friend but has no idea what's involved.
There likely isn't a employment based visa for that. Maybe the company knows, maybe they don't. Either way its unlikely that she'll be able to get a visa for it.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:10 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by Rose tea View Post
Thanks for the responses. She's very eager to help out her employer as a friendly gesture - as I see it, friendly gestures are for friends. Not employers. If she's the one contacting a lawyer, finding out visa options, then forwarding all that info to the company...well, I'd want to be compensated for that, if it was even legal to do.



It's a graphic design job for a small outfit. I hugely doubt there's any relocation package. I'm picturing a small, well-meaning company who wants to hire my friend but has no idea what's involved.
She won't qualify for a Visa, for that type of work - Simples
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by Rose tea View Post
Thanks for the responses. She's very eager to help out her employer as a friendly gesture - as I see it, friendly gestures are for friends. Not employers. If she's the one contacting a lawyer, finding out visa options, then forwarding all that info to the company...well, I'd want to be compensated for that, if it was even legal to do.



It's a graphic design job for a small outfit. I hugely doubt there's any relocation package. I'm picturing a small, well-meaning company who wants to hire my friend but has no idea what's involved.
Could she do what I did - find a good immigration lawyer - and ask her prospective employer to pay for it (I asked mine and they said No, but it's worth asking?) They can't compensate her for doing some of the legwork, but they can certainly compensate an immigration attorney.

They may simply be unaware that it is their responsibility ... it never hurts to ask. But ultimately, she may need to ask herself how important it is to her to live in the US.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
Could she do what I did - find a good immigration lawyer - and ask her prospective employer to pay for it (I asked mine and they said No, but it's worth asking?) They can't compensate her for doing some of the legwork, but they can certainly compensate an immigration attorney.

They may simply be unaware that it is their responsibility ... it never hurts to ask. But ultimately, she may need to ask herself how important it is to her to live in the US.
She won't get a Visa if she is going to work in a Graphic Design Office. There are no doubt plenty of locals who can do that job, without the need for sending to the UK for someone.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Any word on what state they are in? Something your friend may need to think about is that some states are "at will" states which means they can terminate your employment pretty much at any time they choose.

She'll need to make sure that she can get back to the UK if this should happen. A contingency is pretty much a necessity.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by Duncan Roberts View Post
There likely isn't a employment based visa for that. Maybe the company knows, maybe they don't. Either way its unlikely that she'll be able to get a visa for it.
+1. Take a look at the two Pulaski wikis in the US section of the wikis tab above to get a more complete picture of what she's up against.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:21 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by jamm13dodger View Post
Any word on what state they are in? Something your friend may need to think about is that some states are "at will" states which means they can terminate your employment pretty much at any time they choose.

She'll need to make sure that she can get back to the UK if this should happen. A contingency is pretty much a necessity.

Chicago, Illinois, which is an "at will" State.

One wonders how she was offered a job...if she travelled to the US for an Interview, etc.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:24 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by Scouse Express View Post
Chicago, Illinois,
Doh! Sorry, not sure how I missed that in the OP.
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Old Mar 4th 2014, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: Offered job but told to do the visa legwork on your own?

Originally Posted by Scouse Express View Post
She won't get a Visa if she is going to work in a Graphic Design Office. There are no doubt plenty of locals who can do that job, without the need for sending to the UK for someone.
Yep, I picked that up from all the other posts that were posted while I was typing. Didn't even occur to me that this was an unviable profession for a visa.
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