Thinking of moving to us

Apr 30, 2018 52 Comments

Recently thinking of relocating to USA (provided I get H1B).
Currently:
1) Located in central Europe
2) ~7 years of exp, 1.5 at Intel (European office), rest startups working as regular, senior and lead dev
3) According to numbeo.com, in order to have my current quality of living I will need ~$18k monthly after taxes in SF and $14k in Seattle

Next:
Is it worth moving, taking into account:
0) Is there still possible to get h1b? Do Googl, MS, Apple, etc sponsor visas as they used to a few years ago? I got an offer long long time ago as new grad, but rejected as wanted to stay closer with my family
1) My wife won't be able to work (at least for first x-years)
2) We already hit upper bound if it comes to salaries in our area - basically not possible to earn more (without investing to housing and renting to others or buying crypto or whatever)
3) No children so far, but we are going to have at least one (probably would see the world for the first time in US)
4) How much can I get provided I pass the interview (did already lot's of leetcode and been preparing for quite long)

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 52 Comments
  • Netflix KheP11
    18k monhly after taxes, that’s 216k a year after taxes, so in California you need around 350-400k. With 7 years of experience and no visa ... good luck with that. Not saying it is not possible, but unless you are well known in an open source community, it is going to be quite difficult.
    Apr 30, 2018 11
    • OP
      Zurich only. There are very high taxes in Germany, I will end up with lower take home than now, with slightly higher COL.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng
      Parsnip

      Amazon Eng

      PRE
      Amazon
      Parsnipmore
      Zurich is crazy expensive while Germany is dirt cheap. Remember that.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Amazon dalejrjr
      Still, you'll save more in Zurich most likely in absolute terms.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • New / Eng RhpJ71
      People are nicer in Germany. That should count for something.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Deutsche Bank Gongoo
      Google Zurich, then shift to US
      Apr 30, 2018
  • Robert Half mgsquared
    I don’t know what calculator you are using but those numbers are ridiculous. With 7 years you can maybe get 180k before taxes if you go to a larger company and then some stock options (this limits you to the big 4 a bit- there are some others).

    Cost of living here is high but it’s mostly housing and childcare. I don’t have the same quality of life here as I did in Europe mainly because I now live in a much smaller apartment. Otherwise I do if that makes sense.
    To move here with the expectation to have the same life is setting yourself up for disappointment.

    If you want to do this- then I highly recommend getting a job at a US company in Europe and transferring. The transfer visa (L1) would allow your spouse to work.

    Not only is H1B a lottery (we tried 3 times, never got it) but so many companies are not even doing it anymore.
    Apr 30, 2018 7
    • OP
      Why did you move? How can you sum up your stay in US? Was it worth a try? Did you transfer via L1?
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Robert Half mgsquared
      We moved because my husband is a software engineer and wanted the experience of working here. He loves it. We did do the L1 route (didn’t win lottery) and had to live in Ireland for a year- hated that.

      As for living here- ridiculously overhyped. I like it enough. The tech scene is cool. It’s just horrible for family and raising kids. When we have them, Daycare may end up being more than I earn. Apartments are so expensive that you won’t get multiple bedrooms and it’s a bit squishy. Life is a bit more luxurious with all the fancy perks you can get in SF (groceries delivered, etc) but the perks that matter- they’re not there. A good private school would be 16k a year for one kid, public transport is awful, there is more crime and there are homeless people everywhere. With no social support system in place.

      Personally I prefer a world where mentally ill people aren’t on the streets or become homeless over medical debt so I never had an issue with the taxes in Austria to be honest.

      I miss all the vacation I used to have and the option of things like extended maternity leave when the day comes. I miss decent public transport that took me to and from work in a reliable manner.

      We earn more money here- so we’re saving lots. But I am not 100% convinced it’s worth it. The software engineer is- loves his life here. :)
      Apr 30, 2018
    • OP
      Fair enough to give up this idea ;) Thanks a lot and wish all the best !
      Apr 30, 2018
    • New / Eng 206
      My wife is from EU and she really wants to move to Europe to be close to her family and a better upbringing for our kids and a less stressful family life. I am from Asia so I have no idea if the family and upbringing is totally true or she is just exaggerating it to be close to her family (which I understand) since you guys are from Europe do you agree with her opinion? I am also a bit worried about discrimination from what I have read online Zurich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow, Dublin are not as accepting as SF for an interracial couple.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Robert Half mgsquared
      From the places you mentioned, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dublin would be more accepting of interracial couples.

      Berlin and Amsterdam would be my top choices. I did not like living in Dublin. Amsterdam is pretty open as most people speak English.

      As for is family life better- YES. Decent paid maternity leave of at least a year, universal healthcare so you never have to deal with healthcare bills, education that is good and free up to University, safety- no school shootings. There are lots of programs for kids you can get to with public transport.

      Daycare- usually free or affordable.

      Work life balance at work is encouraged and 5 weeks paid vacation make it much easier to take care of kids.

      I could go on but in general your wife is right.
      May 1, 2018
  • Intel / Eng
    googleme2

    Intel Eng

    BIO
    Hardware quality and reliability professional
    googleme2more
    Why would you move to US from Europe..
    Apr 30, 2018 9
    • Amazon dalejrjr
      Sure, but what costs $3k in Poland will cost $60k in the US and you won't earn 20x as much. US spends like 15% of GDP on health while Western European countries spend 6-8%. That extra money goes to medical complex, mostly insurance companies.

      E.g. one child birth is more than $20k. How much is it in Poland? Your insurance will pay part of it, but the cost difference is to illustrate how ridiculous Heath care is in the US
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Apple John!
      That’s why you have insurance. Nobody pays $60k in us out of pocket.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Amazon dalejrjr
      Will you have insurace after a year of not working when your medical leave of absence ends? No job, no insurance. Bettter have stash of cash to pay $1k+ monthly premiums.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Apple John!
      OP wants to move to USA for a job. Not to retire
      Apr 30, 2018
    • OP
      Do you have insurance from you employer? Does it cover pregnancy and child birth?
      How much do you have to participate in $20k surgery scenario? Does insurance cover family members
      Apr 30, 2018
  • Apple John!
    Easier option would be to pursue a 1 year masters and then get an opt for 3 years and try H1b lottery while working during those 3 years
    Apr 30, 2018 4
    • Amazon dalejrjr
      No, easier option is to do L1 transfer. Maybe OP has Masters already and doesn't want to pay for it as well as not earn anything during that one year.
      Apr 30, 2018
    • OP
      Already have masters, I will rather focus noe on making money/career rather than college
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Apple John!
      Then L1 is the best option. Very tough to get hired from abroad due to visa uncertainty of lottery. Most companies prefer H1b already or at least OPT
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Deutsche Bank Gongoo
      Try L1A if possible, specially if you are Indian. Helps a TON in Green card
      Apr 30, 2018
  • OP
    Seems that we have very good place in Poland for SDEs. I make with spouse ~$5.5k combined monthly after tax, prices in SF are 3x higher, housing 6x higher. From the other point of view: how much you need monthly to have decent life and increasing savings - spouse, 2 childreen, single income?
    Apr 30, 2018 3
    • Amazon dalejrjr
      $5.5k is approximately take home of around $100k gross here, depending on your tax situation, which is a good salary for non-tech people. You'll definitely need a lot more to achieve your plan of early retirement. On one salary it might work, but it will take time to get to max possible salary. Don't count on $250k+ in your first year.

      Also, is your wife in tech? If she is, then definitely come ASAP. If not, even if she can work, her salary might be negligible compared to yours. Wealth gap is huge in the US.

      I wouldn't personally look at Bay area. Too expensive. You can find areas with lower cost of living and salaries just a bit lower. Many top companies pay the same everywhere (not Amazon)
      Apr 30, 2018
    • OP
      Unfortunately, she is non-tech. She works as speech therapist and she will have to make BS in US to have sth reasonable to do. $5.5k is the net amount we make in Poland, I suppose we have to make much more to survive with single income and two kids in future in US.
      I consider tech hubs just in case I become a victim o massive lay off or just get fired, finding another job easily is must have in my case. What other places do you suggest? What income is sufficient to have good life with 4 people on board?
      Apr 30, 2018
    • Amazon dalejrjr
      Seattle is a good option. Not cheap, but cheaper than Bay area. Also no state income tax so your take home will be approximately 10% higher compared to California. Weather is worse than California, but probably not much worse (or even better) than Poland. Most major companies are here (except Neflix and LinkedIn).

      I don't have kids so can't comment, but when I was single I lived nicely off $100k when I just moved to the US 5+yrs ago.

      Most likely your wife would be stay at home mom for a while if you plan on having kids. Day care is super expensive.
      Apr 30, 2018
  • Vertafore xAQJ86
    You're delusional. Your plans are not realistic, you're living on a cloud if you think you can just come to America and have the American dream, all the reasons others mention here. Not even American techies get to live that dream, very few. Count your blessings!!
    Apr 30, 2018 2
    • OP
      Asking here proves I’m rather realistic? I don’t think about American dream, just looking for further opportunities somewhere else, US is one of the possible destinations
      Apr 30, 2018
    • New / Eng 206
      @Verafore: You are assuming a little. The OP is just getting started to explore the water of moving here. Let him explore and learn rather than bashing.
      Apr 30, 2018
  • New / Eng Chime!
    Unless you find an amazing opportunity which takes away all your worries about finances don’t do it. We are thinking to go back because how expensive things are here especially if you are a single income couple and plan to have a family. Poland is better place to raise kids than US so remember that. You will end up spending a lot on day care, education etc than in Poland where you have family to support you for kids.
    Apr 30, 2018 2
    • OP
      Just wondering how non-tech people survive there? Are there only tech guys left, escaping at linear speed from Bay ?
      Apr 30, 2018
    • New / Eng Chime!
      It is very hard for non-tech people to survive unless you have either your parents or someone support you with living arrangement or something or heavily scale down your lifestyle that might involve living in a below average (average according to Bay Area) apartment complex and very far from the main city and commuting upto 2 hours a day one way to work. Cutting down a lot on your expense of food and entertainment.
      Apr 30, 2018
  • H1b deadline was this month. Nobody will consider you until like February next year now.
    Try and re-join intel or similar and transfer
    Apr 30, 2018 2
    • OP
      Yes, I know I will have to wait till next year and this is why I’m asking with big advance. I’mgping to apply later this year, now just working out possible scenarios for my future plans, thanks
      Apr 30, 2018
    • OP
      There are no options at Intel to move to us (at least there weren’t while I was there). In addition TC was very poor for transfers and this is why I saw many people just left Intel and join FANG in US directly
      Apr 30, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng
    Parsnip

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    Amazon
    Parsnipmore
    BTW. I did what you want to do (I'm from Poland and I live in US). Message me in prive if want to talk more.
    Apr 30, 2018 0
  • OP
    Thank you guys for all the comments! Now have a better look on pros (not so many) and cons.
    Apr 30, 2018 0
  • Qualcomm 46swe
    Regarding money, SFo and seattle are most companies. Outside, cost of living is cheaper
    Apr 30, 2018 0
  • Qualcomm 46swe
    H1b has a quota system that gets offered every year. U have to time your interviews such that employer would file and wait for you. Better to find an Multinational and transfer
    Apr 30, 2018 0