Am I an underpaid Immigrant ?

New RHSn81
Sep 15, 2018 17 Comments

I've just got my green card, sponsored by this small South Florida company, after working remotely for them for 3 years. I'm still in my home country, preparing to move to Florida. I'm currently making ~100k total compensation, and can probably get an immediate raise up to 120-125k, but can't reach anything above that in this company since I'm already top-level engineer there.

I wasn't planning to look for new jobs so soon, but as soon as I changed my LinkedIn location, in short period of time I was invited for interviews at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Bloomberg, and some other minor companies, which makes me wonder.

I have 16 years of work experience, Computer Science B.Sc in the best university of Latin America (which is obviously among the top schools worldwide), as well as a good MBA.

In my previous job I was a Sr Manager (for 5 years) in a small company, managing 10 employees, but also doing software development for ~33% of my time, because I love programming. Due to a career decision, I decided to step down (back to being a full-stack Sr Software Engineer) and pursue a job in U.S.

Despite having good college education, I've never worked with algorithms or low level programming. I've always been working on business aplications, and mostly with non-opensource technologies, and non large-scale / distributed systems. So probably it will take me a few months to get well prepared for FANG technical interviews.

My career objectives are mostly around entrepeneurship, but also having good work-life balance to enjoy my wife and kids, and saving some money for future.

Am I being strongly underpaid? Is living in South Florida a good career move (with 120-130k, but considering that the cost of living there is much lower), or should I pursue FANG companies, and look around Bay Area/NYC?
Thanks for your opinions!


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TOP 17 Comments
  • Microsoft IBTingey
    There’s an excellent chance you can greatly increase your compensation. You should at least explore the opportunities.
    Sep 15, 2018 5
    • Oath / Mgmt Atinlay
      Not so fast, also consider the lower tax rates in FL plus no state income tax.
      Sep 15, 2018
    • New RHSn81
      Exactly, my colleagues in FL say that it's cheaper and has lower taxes, despite being cheaper and faster to go back to my home country. But I don't want to just make the ends meet, it looks like with this salary in Florida I won't be able to save any money. I would probably prefer living modestly elsewhere and saving money.
      Sep 15, 2018
    • Oath / Mgmt Atinlay
      Do your research, do the math. You may actually have higher take home pay with less TC in FL.
      Sep 15, 2018
    • Microsoft / Eng Tier 1
      Depends where in FL too. The COL varies greatly.

      You should also consider if you *want* to live in an area like Florida. I for one would not, even for 500k TC. It’s too hot and humid.

      I would however recommend staying with your current company for a bit. Moving countries is a big deal. Staying at the same job for a bit will help reduce the burden of transitioning to this new place.
      Sep 15, 2018
    • GE / Eng

      GE Eng

      General Electric
      120k-130k in Florida is pretty good, you'll be comfortable but not exactly living it up.
      Oct 26, 2018
  • Netflix here4kix
    @expedia this is how green cards were meant to be used and were used until recently.
    Sep 15, 2018 2
    • Intel / Eng pleb
      Exactly what I was about to say. It's incredible how much the job market distorted immigration. I've even met people who believed immigrants aren't required to pay taxes here.
      Sep 15, 2018
    • Immigrants should have to pay a little less taxes. They contribute to all systems, and much more than many Americans, but don’t get important rights like voting. Less rights, less taxes seems fair. After all, they shouldn’t have to suffer under a president like Trump without getting some kind of restitutions.
      Sep 27, 2018
  • Expedia Exorcist🕷
    I call BS. You can’t get a green card working from your home country
    Sep 15, 2018 4
  • Intel / Mktg nononsense
    Another consideration - if you want some of that LAR culture in the US, you can't beat south Florida. Moving to the Bay Area or NYC certainly has some of it, but nothing compared to SoFlo.
    Sep 15, 2018 0
  • In your shoes I would try to get competing offers for L4 or higher for about $300k or higher. Requires a review of algorithms and a concerted effort to line up competing offers.
    Sep 15, 2018 0
  • Amazon gemalto
    Sep 15, 2018 0


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