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#57644 - 08/29/00 10:44 AM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
megia Offline

Registered: 06/07/00
Posts: 267
Loc: Sedona, Arizona

you do have the option of working on a contractual basis for design firms that develop special applications for other companies.

for instance, here in los angeles there is more work available than you can even begin to check out with independant, third-party vendors, that would contract you for a temporary "gig" (tarea). when the project is complete, you are done and have no further obligation. if you speak decent english (which i'm sure you do) and you have the skills, there may be no problem. there would literally be no way for the US governement to track you. then you move on to another contract gig.

the most difficult part about this whole thing would be getting here to california and finding a place to stay and having a VEHICLE. assume that unless you are in NYC, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco, that you will certainly need decent transportation (a serious design flaw of the USA).

also, do not assume that competition is too tough in Silicon Valley. i go up there frequently and know that companies there are seeking people all the time. the only problem with Silicon Valley is that it is the most expensive place in the USA to live, with a bachelor apartment (smaller than madrid style) going for more than a $1000 a month. add car expense and it is sickening. the redeeming quality would be the high paying job you could get.

try the following for all types of info on computer jobs:
these sites will give you an idea of what types of pay rate you can ask for certain types of tech work. note the differences you can find in various locations of the USA.

good luck!!

#57645 - 08/29/00 07:44 PM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
Antonio Offline

Executive Member

Registered: 05/07/00
Posts: 1176
Loc: Madrid (Spain)
Madridman, would it be easier to get a working visa if you adopt me as your son?. If so, could you help me to get a job..., dad?

From the posts so far, I understand that I can't enter the USA as a tourist / student and then get a job before my visa ends. I have to get a job from Spain and then enter with a working visa. This makes things more complicated.

Also, I've seen that only big cities have good means of transportation. Otherwise, I should have a car.

By the way, real_megia, I don't want to work under the table. If I can't get a legal job there, I will try in the UK.

Another question for all of you. What about medical insurance?. In the UK is very easy because I have free insurance the same way I have it here in Spain (with the Seguridad Social). In case I manage to get a job, does the company provide medical insurance?.

Thanks again for your replies,

The best tips from your favourite hostal in Madrid.
Hostal Chelo at

#57646 - 08/29/00 07:56 PM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
Antonio Offline

Executive Member

Registered: 05/07/00
Posts: 1176
Loc: Madrid (Spain)
Hi El Boqueron,

I was told Liverpool and Manchester were cheaper than any of the cities I went to (I know they were expensive ones). Also, I know Liverpool has cheap Easyjet flights which is very important.

Is Liverpool a student city?. I was also told I could get a shared flat very cheap there?.

What about Reading?. Microsoft has their offices there so I guess there must be other computer companies.

And Swindom?. I heard there are also IT companies there. Are both (Reading and Swindom expensive)?.

Which are the cheapest cities in England?.

Thanks for your reply,

The best tips from your favourite hostal in Madrid.
Hostal Chelo at

#57647 - 08/30/00 11:23 AM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
Jen Offline

Registered: 08/01/00
Posts: 217
Loc: Chicago
Health insurance is a major problem here. Not only is it expensive, but many companies do not provide comprehensive coverage for their employees. Health care in the US is really in a state of crisis. Although it may be difficult, I say you give the US a try, if only for the experience! You already know what it's like in the UK. If it doesn't work out for you in the US, you can always give it a try in the UK. Good luck to you.

#57648 - 08/30/00 11:30 AM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
Eddie Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/05/00
Posts: 1713
Loc: Phila., PA, USA
Hey, Antonio:
If you really want to go where things are happening in Computing, look into the Irish Republic. The economic revival is called the 'Celtic Tiger' (Tigre Celta,if you wish). Many U.S. Companies have established Silicon Valley-like compounds, even in the Industrial parks around Shannon airport and all over the Irish Republic.
If you are really interested, you might get some info on (newsnet)Soc.Culture.Irish message board. I visit Ireland quite often (my last visit was in May '00)and have seen explosive growth in the DP Industry there - They would probably rather hire a UE Citizen (Ireland is part of the European Union), especially a Spaniard because of the common Celtic heritage and a common religion, than the people from India who make up a large part of the Computer Professional Immigrants there.
Let me know what you think.

[This message has been edited by Eddie (edited 08-31-2000).]

#57649 - 08/30/00 03:27 PM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
Puna Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/07/00
Posts: 1437
Loc: Charlotte, NC. U.S.A.
Antonio - I know of at least one US company (Fidelity Investments) that has a part of it's technology segment headquartered in Ireland. Whether this is true for other companies - I have no idea. What would be the possibility of you finding a job with multi-national or US based company in Madrid then transfering within the company after a year or two? This seems the best way from every angle - they even pay to move you.

Earlier comments about health insurance in the US were right on. If you are not covered by your employer (coverage usually kicks in after the first 1-3 months of employment)and forced to get your own coverage you discover health insurance is prohibitively expensive. A huge number of Americans (middle class) are going without coverage as a result. If you were to find a job in the US (legally as you stated)- would your Spanish health insurance be transferable at least for a couple of months?

[This message has been edited by Puna (edited 08-30-2000).]
emotionally & mentally in Spain - physically in Charlotte

#57650 - 08/30/00 04:05 PM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
connie Offline

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 153
Living in the US without health insurance is something you can do as a US citizen, but not if you come from Europe and hold a US visa. Apart from the fact that it is recommendable in view of the HUGE health costs here, it is obligatory, at least for certain types of visa.
In general, health insurance from EC countries is not transferrable to the US unless there is a special agreement on social security between your home country and the US, but these agreements normally do not concern people willing to integrate in the job market of another country, but the case of people sent over temporarily by their company. And they do not always provide for full coverage.
What you can always do is to get a travel health insurance for a couple of months which covers all health expenses abroad. That is most likely to be cheaper than getting insurance in the US (also because of the strong dollar and the weak euro) unless your employer provides for health benefits.

#57651 - 08/30/00 06:06 PM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
CCG Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/31/00
Posts: 12
Loc: USA
Antonio, I am no expert on any of these matters (especially immigration and visas), but I can offer impressions about living in the USA.

Individual health insurance (such as Blue Cross) is available for $1,500 to $1,800 per year (more if you have dependents). Employers often offer health insurance as a benefit (especially true of larger companies); I pay $20/month for mine.

English classes are often available for free or very little cost at local libraries. These sometimes are geared more for people who need lots of help or for Americans who speak English but can't read, but basically they pair you with a volunteer tutor who can work with you at any level. I volunteered for 10 years and mostly just encouraged conversation about "American" culture, idioms, and slang. My point is that you don't necessarily need to be in a large city to have access to help with English.

About friend's brother is making $80,000/yr just a few years after getting a computer science degree. I have no idea if this is common. My understanding is that he is involved in software development for a major financial company (something about preventing fraud). He lives in New Jersey.

Any major city on the northern east coast (DC and north) will have a higher cost of living than average for the US (mainly due to rent). This is especially true of NY and Boston. Within the city of Boston I saw rents of more than $1,000 a month for one bedroom apartments. I know it is possible to get a 2 bedroom apartment (unfurnished) in some towns right outside of Boston (e.g., Everett, but probably not Cambridge) for about $700 a month and split the rent with a roommate. The subway lines connect the closest towns to central Boston and commuter trains are available for towns a bit farther away.

The cost of living is typically much less in the midwest and in the south, but I have no idea how easy it is to get a computer-related job there. In New Orleans, you can rent a studio apartment or one bedroom house (unfurnished) for about $400-$500 in the city and $350 in the suburbs and have access to bus routes if you don't have a car. New Orleans is old by US standards, so the city is not that spread out.

real_megia is right about transportation, most US cities do not offer good public transportation (I would add DC to the list, but I think it is an expensive place to live). In some other cities, you can get a bus if you live within city limits (i.e., not the suburbs), but they often are inconvenient and don't run all night. It seems the newer the city, the more spread out everything is, and more people depend on having a car.

You can get a used car in fair condition for about $2,000 (my friend bought one for $300 and is still driving it 3 years later; he was lucky), but then you have to pay for gas and liability insurance (about $500/yr on an old car?). This is what most people end up doing in cities without good public transportation.

Besides cost of living, there are cultural differences among regions of the US. I grew up in the south, and when I moved to Boston people seemed rude. I eventually learned that they are simply more direct and also less likely to engage in conversation with strangers (maybe a result of being crowded so close together, a way to maintain personal space?). I recently moved back to the south and had to get used to greeting everyone on the street and having conversations with every waitress. Plus, they tend to call you "baby" or "honey" (I even heard one "precious"). These terms are meant to establish a congenial interaction and are in no way sexual. I don't mind this now that I'm used to it, but I think most of my Boston friends would be put off by it.

Two notes about contract are unlikely to have health insurance provided, and you can end up paying more in taxes (although you can deduct some of your health insurance costs and business expenses) because you pay 15% of your adjusted income (after deductions) to social security (if you are not contract labor, your employer pays 7.5% and you pay 7.5%). This is in addition to income tax.

Oh dear, my posts have a way of rambling on. I hope this helps a little.

#57652 - 08/30/00 10:25 PM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
Antonio Offline

Executive Member

Registered: 05/07/00
Posts: 1176
Loc: Madrid (Spain)
Hi Eddie,

I was about to post a new question about Ireland (I forgot to ask about it). I know Microsoft's central European offices are in Dublin and there is where they translate all their software from English into Spanish. But I didn't know there were such a "movement" in Ireland.

I know very little about that country. I have some friends who have been there to study English and work as au-pairs). Most of them go to Dublin. Could you please post or e-mail me more details about Ireland?.

Ireland is part of Euroland and with the current Euro weakness this is also an advantage. An, being a EU citizen, it's very easy to go a live there. But I would like to know more about cities (Dublin, Shannon...) and cost of living in Ireland. Is it cheaper than England?. Is it true that Irish are more friendly than English people? (this is what Spaniards say)

Thank you again for all your kind replies,

The best tips from your favourite hostal in Madrid.
Hostal Chelo at

#57653 - 08/31/00 07:20 AM Re: Should Antonio go to the US / UK?
El Boqueron Offline

Registered: 06/09/00
Posts: 421
Loc: UK
Hi Antonio.

Liverpool and Manchester both have big student populations, and rents are pretty reasonable.

Swindon and Reading are both on the "M4 Corridor" west of London (access to Heathrow), and both are somewhat expensive (Reading more so, I believe). The whole area has essentially no unemployment, and many companies of all types are located there.

The cheapest cities (where there is a possibility of finding work) are generally in the North - Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle. Try also Nottingam, Leicester, Birmingham in the Midlands.

Here's a place you might start looking for an
IT job,

!Buena suerte!

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