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Friday, May 18, 2007

How to get a foot in the industry as a foreigner


I recently got an email asking me about my thoughts of coming to the U.S. in order to get a greencard and work for an animation company, and if you should try to get into bigger companies only in order to make it worth their while (greencard process is not cheap).

My 2 cents:

I wouldn't go for just the big companies, you need to try everything, which will obviously broaden the chance of getting hired. But greencards are hard to get. You can't just come over here and ask for one. First, you need an H1B work visa. You apply for those in April, and they are handed out to companies in October. But the number of Visas went down in recent years. They are so sought after, that this year, it took 1 day to fill up all the H1B applications...

So you need to find a company that will apply for you in April and then you can start there in October. Once you work there you can apply for the greencard (but not right away, unless you are insanely good and everybody wants to keep you). That process can last up to 7 years. Normally it's 5. The faster way is to get married, or to open up your own business (but the capital for that can be close to 7 figures). Hey, whatever it takes, right? (I hope not...)

There are two reasons that companies are not calling back.

1. They don't need people.
2. You're not good enough.

That's the bottom line. You can be the best animator in the world, but if the company is full and/or they have not enough money to add another employee, you won't get hired. Of course there are other reasons, but these are the major ones I believe.

Another solution would be to go to college here. Graduate, then get an OPT (Optional Practical Training), which is a work visa that lasts for a year. This will give you the advantage of being in the US for interviews and available for companies right away, instead of having to go through phone interviews and the hassle of relocation fees.

It's tough for foreigners at the moment. I'm obviously not an expert, these are just observations I made since I got here in '99.

3 comments:

Erik said...

so we are better start to make our animation better and better...

or find a American girlfriend?

which one is easier?....:P

Joey said...

Both ways ain't easy, man~!

Jean-Denis Haas said...

:-)

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