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I'm often asked by jocks outside of the United States how to get work in the U.S. Recently I received an e-mail from a British radio person who managed to do it, and he graciously volunteers this information.


You have a very informative and interesting web site. Great stuff!

In your Q&A section, there was a question from somebody overseas who wanted to know how they could work in the States, and I thought I would let you know about my experiences.

There are only so many ways a non-U.S. resident can work legally in the States, and most, if not all, radio (and related) companies are not going to employ someone who is illegally in the country.

Basically, in order to protect U.S. workers, to be allowed to work in the States a person must have skills that are in short supply in the local work force (which differs state by state), and these skills must have been obtained through extensive and verifiable study, training and/or experience.

The employer has to run ads in local (and possibly national) newspapers advertising the vacant position(s), and then has to present evidence to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) that they were unable to find suitably qualified applicants.

Although I now work with a Los Angeles radio station, I came to the U.S. originally as a computer programmer, and that is how I obtained my work visa, and ultimately my permanent resident status (AKA Green Card.)

A green card is usually, but not always, obtained after a person has been given a work visa. Sometimes a person can go straight for the green card, without any job offer, if they are in certain categories (such as being a nuclear physicist, to use a cliched example.)

Although I'm sure that this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the ways a person can apply for, or obtain a work visa and/or green card:

     - as an immediate relative (parent, child and maybe sibling) of a current green card holder. Sometimes they can only do this after the green card holder has become a U.S. citizen, which is usually five years after the green card was obtained

     - as part of the U.S. office of a foreign company, e.g. the BBC, Volkswagen

     - through marriage to a U.S. citizen or green card holder

     - through investment - this is in the $100,000s, and they must employ so many U.S. workers

     - through winning a green card in the annual green card lottery, though this is restricted to certain countries that are under-represented in the States. The United Kingdom (not Ireland) has been excluded for about ten years, though Australia was still in it three years ago.

     - there is a final method, which is not publicized by the INS, and I'm not sure is applicable everywhere in the U.S. and may not be guaranteed. If a person shows that they have lived continuously for ten years in the States (by providing rent receipts, phone bills etc.) and have kept out of trouble with the law, at the end of those ten years (it used to be six) they voluntarily turn themselves in to the INS, they are given what is called a "stay of deportation", and then sometime later a green card.

A very useful book that I used was How To Get A Green Card by Loida Nicolas Lewis

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