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andreeb77

Immigrating to the US. How much money do one need?

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This is my girl friend's and my current situation:

We are seriously thinking about immigrating to the US sometime in the next two years.

At the moment we both have pretty good jobs and we are enjoying our lives (apart from the cold and wet weather, the "German life style" and the ridiculous ticket prices).

I'm a PhD'ed engineer and she has a diploma in child care.

As far as I know, Green Cards are hard to come by and working permits do no allow spouses to work. This would most likely put me into a position of me having to earn money for two people (who are both skydivers ;)).

What would you guys say: How much money do you need to make a good living in the US (California, Nevada or Arizona)? What would be a realistic salary for an engineer? Are US companies interested in hiring foreigners?

Input and advise will be highly appreciated!

BlueS

Andree

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The amount is irrelevant if you can't find a job at all.

This is not a particularly good time to be looking for a job in the US and it doesn't have anything to do with being qualified or being a foreigner.

Beyond that, "a good living" is very relative. $50,000 per year might be enough for some, $200,000 might not be enough for others. It's simply impossible to make any sort of judgement there.

My suggestion would be for you to do some research on a jobs based web site like Monster.com. Not to get a job, you probably won't, but you might be able to see what the salary range is for the type of thing that you do. Just saying PhD'ed engineer doesn't really tell me anything. That just covers far too much potential ground.
quade -
The World's Most Boring Skydiver

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I did look up monster et al. Salaries pretty much vary between the amounts you stated, although you would have to be Albert Einstein to match all the requirements they are looking for ;)

Maybe I posed the question in a wrong way. What would be the estimated average cost of living (including a fair amount of skydiving).

I know that it's not the best time looking for a job in the US. But, hey, it looks like economy is picking up again.

Sorry if I'm too vague but I'm just looking for some input from fellow skydivers.

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I did look up monster et al. Salaries pretty much vary between the amounts you stated, although you would have to be Albert Einstein to match all the requirements they are looking for ;)

Maybe I posed the question in a wrong way. What would be the estimated average cost of living (including a fair amount of skydiving).

I know that it's not the best time looking for a job in the US. But, hey, it looks like economy is picking up again.

Sorry if I'm too vague but I'm just looking for some input from fellow skydivers.



Ca. 50 thousand (minimum) unless you plan to be skybums ...If skybums living in one of the dz ghetto's, many get by here on 15,000!

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What would you guys say: How much money do you need to make a good living in the US (California, Nevada or Arizona)?




$50,000 - $250,000+.

Costs vary radically depending on what city you live in. Some places $100,000 buys you a nice 3-bedroom house with a couple bathrooms, garage, and yard. Some places $500,000 will just get you into a studio condo. Other places $1,000,000 gets you a cottage built in 1950 that needs renovation. Some places you'll pay $1000 a year in property taxes on a home. Some places it'll be $10,000.

State tax rates vary dramatically too. Some places have a 0% state income tax rate. California has a 9.55% marginal income tax rate and 1.1% state disability insurance rate.

You are mostly responsible for your own retirement and some fraction of medical costs.

I took home just $.56 out of every dollar last year after federal income taxes, saving for retirement, state income taxes, federal social security, federal medicare, setting aside pre-tax money to cover medical costs, my share of medical insurance, state disability insurance, and life insurance to cover my wife if I get killed.

Then there's what you mean by "a good living."

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What would be a realistic salary for an engineer?



$50,000 - $200,000 in total compensation depending on what sort of engineering you do, what sort of experience you have, how good you are, where you live, and the company size.

Companies in high-cost areas pay more but not enough to offset the increased costs of living for people moving into the area.

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Are US companies interested in hiring foreigners?



Sure. Some companies have lots of H1B holders. But some aren't interested in the hassle.

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Are US companies interested in hiring foreigners?



Of course they do, but wheter they would go into the hassle of sponsoring you for skilled workers' visa or permanent residency is an entirely different matter.
Immigration law is extremely complicated and changes with the wind, (for those who want to come lawfully, I mean:P) not to mention very pricey. There is no way you can navigate the burocracy involved in filing petitions. ( Actually you don't file the petition, your sponsoring employer must file it on your behalf) Trust me I spent the last decade of my life and about ten grand on that piece of plastic. My employer said I was worth it but he will never do it again, it's just simply too much work.
You can google H1-B visas and if your GF has some professional degree perhaps she can find an employer too who may be willing to file a petition on her behalf.


"I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food."

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You need to broaden your horizons over here. The three states you've selected are good places to start, but you should consider adding Texas, Colorado, Florida and New Mexico to your list as well. In reality, keep an open mind to all 50 states. ;)

The real challenge right now will be finding a job. The market is soft, and it's a buyer's market frankly, you won't be able to command the salary you might otherwise.

What's your time frame to move?
So I try and I scream and I beg and I sigh
Just to prove I'm alive, and it's alright
'Cause tonight there's a way I'll make light of my treacherous life
Make light!

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OK fellow engineer.
This is how you should look at it.
Your house should cost no more than 3 times your base non taxed income.
If you make 100K your house should be no more than 300k.
Engineers get the shaft in the US. Unlike Germany or other center European countries where Engineers are given a bit of respect, here in the US we are slaves to the management. And don't expect to get much respect telling people you are an engineer. Half the time they think you drive a train.
Food here is cheaper than Europe and of course gas and cars. Our taxes are a lot less here but we have to pay for our own health insurance.
On average we get paid more in the US then you guys do in Europe by about two to one but it's the other things that get us.
Life through good thoughts, good words, and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay.

The only thing that falls from the sky is birdshit and fools!

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Given the current economic, political, and societal climate it completely escapes me why anyone would want to immigrate to the US at the present time.

You are aware that the country is rapidly devolving into third-world territory?



Quote

This is my girl friend's and my current situation:

We are seriously thinking about immigrating to the US sometime in the next two years.

At the moment we both have pretty good jobs and we are enjoying our lives (apart from the cold and wet weather, the "German life style" and the ridiculous ticket prices).

I'm a PhD'ed engineer and she has a diploma in child care.

As far as I know, Green Cards are hard to come by and working permits do no allow spouses to work. This would most likely put me into a position of me having to earn money for two people (who are both skydivers ;)).

What would you guys say: How much money do you need to make a good living in the US (California, Nevada or Arizona)? What would be a realistic salary for an engineer? Are US companies interested in hiring foreigners?

Input and advise will be highly appreciated!

BlueS

Andree

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You would need closer to a household income of $200,000 to live comfortably in Cali. You could find locations in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Texas, etc... to live fairly comfortably on half that money with the same quality of life. Out of all those states I'd recommend Colorado, but I'm biased.
*I am not afraid of dying... I am afraid of missing life.*
----Disclaimer: I don't know shit about skydiving.----

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Lets see - how about 3 no no no - by then it will be 4 trillion dollars - then I won't have to work either.:)
I'm not usually into the whole 3-way thing, but you got me a little excited with that. - Skymama
BTR #1 / OTB^5 Official #2 / Hellfish #408 / VSCR #108/Tortuga/Orfun

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You would need closer to a household income of $200,000 to live comfortably in Cali.



Depends on where in California. $150,000 in San Mateo county is low enough to qualify you for the government's moderate income housing program where they get you a below market rate second mortgage so you can have a non-jumbo first without mortgage insurance on $500,000 home (which isn't enough to get a one-bedroom condo in some locations). Other places are less expensive but not necessarily where the jobs you want are.

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You could find locations in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Texas, etc... to live fairly comfortably on half that money with the same quality of life.



Except when it comes to what you're doing for work. Most of the interesting software companies are in the Silicon Valley. In alphabetical order Austin TX, Boston MA, Boulder/Denver CO, Los Angeles CA, Durham NC, and Seattle (plus east side) WA have enough activity to be on the map.

While I like Boulder, CO as much as the Bay Area in terms of dining/entertainment and weather (it gets colder in the winter, but it's sunny) and miss the low cost of living (I'd be lucky to replace my Boulder home with a similar one in a similar Silicon Valley location at 3X the price and 6X the annual taxes) plus proximity to fun activities (an hour to snow sports for week days at Eldora, fifteen minutes to the turbine DZ, and less time to the Boulder airport for gliders or powered flying) there aren't 1/10th the jobs I'd want to work at there.

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I'm a PhD'ed engineer and she has a diploma in child care.



Your (and her) previous job experience is more important than a diploma. I know nothing about childcare, but engineering employers here in U.S. seem not to really care about your diploma (even if it's a diploma from a known good school), and much more on your previous work experience you have and can prove.

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As far as I know, Green Cards are hard to come by and working permits do no allow spouses to work.



Did you try Green Card lottery? I personally know over 10 locals who got green cards through it - in fact, I myself got mine through it. While this is not a reliable way (I'd rather say you should try it if you're not really concerned whether you'd get it or not), it solves a lot of issues.

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Are US companies interested in hiring foreigners?



It typically takes 6-18 months from the moment a company files the paperwork to USCIS to the moment you actually start working for them - may give you an idea what kind of expectations they may have. Keep in mind that there are a lot of locals who already here, looking for a job and do not have any issues with visas - so if your qualifications are good and unique enough, and you have a lot of relevant experience, you'll get through. If it is not the case, I'd suggest postponing it for a couple of years until the economy recovers.
* Don't pray for me if you wanna help - just send me a check. *

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