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[P]
Coming to America, INS willing:

By Canimal in Culture
Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:13:04 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

My friend Ivan has a problem.

He is a lucky winner of the Diversity Visa 2002 green card lottery. This means that he is eligible to come to the U.S. to live and work, if he can convince an interviewer that he won't antagonize the American taxpayer by being a layabout once he gets here. Convincing the DV interviewer typically takes the form of 1) a formal job offer from a U.S. employer, or 2) showing that you have a large pile of cash that can hold you over at least until you blend in with the crowd.

Unfortunately, the formal job offer has not been forthcoming, and large piles of cash are especially hard to come by in Bulgaria. Interview day is approaching. What should he do?


Because K5 has a sizeable population of expatriates, travelers, and those who are sweethearts with furriners of one sort or another, I thought the readers might have some clever suggestions for Ivan.

Are there companies that are an "easy hire" for a foreign national on the verge of a green card? Are there any immigration assistance organizations that might help make an employment connection? Would becoming a university student perhaps soothe the nerves of a green card interviewer?

For those who have had dealings with the INS or State Department lately, what was your experience like? (I don't want to be exclusionary; it would be helpful to hear stories dealing with the immigration departments of other countries too.) Do you have any advice for someone who will shortly be trying to cross the line?

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Coming to America, INS willing: | 82 comments (74 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Depends on what job he's looking for (4.75 / 16) (#2)
by Delirium on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:21:13 AM EST

If he indicates to the interviewer that he's looking for a highly paid professional position, but doesn't actually have a job offer handy, he might be in trouble. I personally know of one family that won this "lottery" and came to the U.S. without any money or job offers; they indicated they were willing to accept minimum-wage work (in fact that's what they expected as an initial job, as they did not speak English), so the interviewer was convinced that they could at least take care of their necessities without burdening the social system. They were also helped by the fact that they were Greeks and had made some preliminary contacts with the local Greek community (church and so on) which was willing to support them -- if you can show that private charities are going to support you if necessary, then there's no problem at all.

So barring any actual job offers, I'd say portraying yourself as being willing to take any paying job (i.e. not being of the "that job is beneath my dignity -- I'm a professional!" sort) is the best bet. Making some preliminary contacts with groups in the U.S. that support immigrants might also help -- see if there's any Bulgarian community groups in the area he's planning on moving to? Speaking of which, is he planning on moving to any particular area? Concrete sorts of plans probably also look better than a vague "I'm going to go somewhere in the U.S. and get a job doing something-or-other."

2nd that, and (4.37 / 8) (#4)
by inadeepsleep on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:56:33 AM EST

it is incredibly easy to find a job in a big city in the US if you speak english, and not impossible even if you don't. You can start at (I think) 8$/hr at McDonalds for God's sake. That's just enough to get by on your own, if you're frugal. Just follow these easy steps:

1) Shower, shave, brush your teeth, and wear clean clothes every day (no, I'm not trying to be funny here, these are actually real problems)

2) Have a good attitude. i.e. show up on time, do what you're told without arguing, be personable. Nobody wants to hire someone they don't like.

But then, this can't possibly be unique to the United States.


[ Parent ]
Hello (3.11 / 9) (#6)
by Should be a Diary Fascist on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:32:40 AM EST

I object to your suggestion that foriegn workers are smelly, lazy and have bad attitudes. That is all.

--
Hello, I am the Should be a Diary Fascist. That is all.
[ Parent ]
It's not a suggestion (3.60 / 5) (#7)
by inadeepsleep on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:55:07 AM EST

While certainly not true of everyone, I know for a fact, from personal experience, that it is a real problem with many, and not just foreign workers. It's really not arguable.


[ Parent ]
Funny.... (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by Elkor on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 08:55:56 AM EST

I though he was talking about most of today's teens....

Amazing how we read things into an innocent comment....

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Hey! I object! (4.50 / 2) (#28)
by Trickster on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 10:13:47 AM EST

I'm a foriegner, lazy and smell bad.
But then again maybe that's 'cause I'm a math student...

[ Parent ]
From my experience... (4.00 / 3) (#8)
by Betcour on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:15:31 AM EST

Most western countries are treating you like dirt when you want to get in. That goes from endless forms to fill, to dozens of official papers that you need to get translated and certified. And lets not forget the medical check up that can be amazingly thorough. The whole thing is usually done in total oppacity (half the informations you need to apply are not given) and long processing delays, and you are in for a mindbogling experience...

Ironically (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by Mashx on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:08:07 AM EST

For me the most complicated has been France. Despite being from another EU country, I still have to get a Carte de Sejour, still have to have my apartment guaranteed by the company, and had to have a medical check: something that was not required for any of the others, including Belgium, Holland, Germany, Ireland and Canada or the US, where I needed a Visa: this was still much more simple to obtain than the Carte de Sejour for France..
Woodside!
[ Parent ]
Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by Betcour on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 10:17:17 AM EST

France visa is a pain in the butt (the medical exam is extremely thorough, every possible disease but aids is checked). On the other hand, it is Canada which showed the most relunctance to help and the most incompetence (I particulary liked the letter they send that started with "Dear Madam" and ended with "...Sir" (for the record, I'm a guy).

[ Parent ]
Others.. (none / 0) (#80)
by Mashx on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:45:01 AM EST

have said that to me and I was warned that there was a possible two hour interrogation to obtain the work visa upon arrival, but I was just lucky I think as the woman had just dealt with Demi Moore and Rob Lowe, and her husband worked in the same area as me, so I was in and out within fifteen minutes.

Saying that, I did break all of the conditions of entry of the visa though... ;-)
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

the INS makes my blood boil (4.00 / 8) (#9)
by bosk on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 04:10:09 AM EST

Your friend but he should prepare to be treated as if he were not a human being. I've had multiple encounters with the INS and Customs as my wife is not a US citizen. The workers are lazy, rude and arrogant. One might think that the government would put a higher caliber worker into a position that for many is one of their first encounters with the American government but it is not to be. I don't think that the INS gets adequate funding. Additionally, many low-quality-with-something-to-prove postal workers make it into these positions because once you are a federal employee you have access to the federal job posting database and get first dibs on job openings before they are offered to the public.

My only advice, which doesn't apply to the interview, but in general to the INS and Customs, is, if there is a choice available, select an agent or officer that takes pride in their appearance. Avoid slopply dressed officiers and young males even if they are smartly dressed. My favorites are usually elderly gentlemen. Avoid young guys with a military-type haircut and avoid anybody that looks like a slob.

In contrast, I myself have been treated very well by authorities in the Netherlands and Germany but that is probably due to the fact that I am a US citizen and not any personal qualities I possess.



higher caliber worker (4.75 / 4) (#11)
by enterfornone on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 06:06:40 AM EST

The government is a monopoly. You are forced to deal with them. There is no point trying to find someone will good customer service skills because such skills have no value in a monopoly.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
I don't think it is that simple (none / 0) (#32)
by bosk on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 10:25:23 AM EST

Obviously, the government is a monopoly but that doesn't wholly explain shoddy service. I imagine, or at least hope, that ambassadors are that certain "higher caliber worker."

But that comes from the fact that foreign nations demand competentcy and have the resources to make their point. Your average applicant at the INS has practically no resources to prove his point. The only hope then would be that the nation values putting on a good face for newcomers. But that is not the case either. Most people don't value giving immigrants good service so it is hard to get funding for the INS. Welcome to America also means you "gotta pay your dues" first.



[ Parent ]
Finding jobs (3.75 / 4) (#10)
by spaceghoti on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 05:08:35 AM EST

I have a similar problem in another country. Fortunately I don't have to convince anyone I'm not going to be a layabout, but I am having trouble convincing anyone to hire me.

A lot of what it takes to get hired in the US is communication. If you can speak English well enough to be understood, a lot of places will hire you. If you happen to have employable skills, that's a wage-raising bonus. However, from experience I can tell you that it's very hard to get a job offer from overseas without some very impressive skills. At that point, a lot of the employers come looking for you, rather than the reverse. It's almost as if the job market penalizes people for looking instead of being chased after.

Good luck to your friend. I have no idea how to help him get through the interview. It's a vicious cycle.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

About your sig (none / 0) (#16)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 08:26:55 AM EST

Ever read the book? It was based on the original script, and contained some things that were cut from the movie.

Saavik is half-Romulan.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Star Trek novel (none / 0) (#60)
by spaceghoti on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:56:40 PM EST

I read it, in fact. I liked it a lot and kept it with me for years until, as with much of my belogings, it disappeared in one of my all-too-frequent moves. It very possibly got snagged by one of my dodgy former roommates.

I found the novelization of the movie very well done, and helped fill in some of the minor gaps through characterisation. The additions were all plausible and in most cases very entertaining. They would have been excellent additions to the movie (and probably were, but were cut for length). It makes me want to see a director's cut.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
Better a farmer in Bulgaria than McDonald's in USA (3.83 / 6) (#12)
by levsen on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 07:41:10 AM EST

Before you take any minimum wage job, read "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich. You do NOT want to take those jobs. They are NOT an initial step towards fame and fortune. You will be stuck.
This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.
Some light (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by inerte on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 08:17:04 AM EST

I am curious, could you give me a small explanation of the reasons?

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Plato
[ Parent ]

Health care, income taxes, managers... (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by fraise on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:54:59 AM EST

Health care is privatized in the US. If you don't want to pay an insane amount of money every time you go to the doctor, you will need health insurance. Health insurance is very, very expensive. If you work at McDonald's, it is very likely you will not be able to afford decent health care.

Income taxes are withheld at the source. That means, if you earn $5.15/hour, the current federal minimum wage, your paycheck might average out to $4.50/hour or less. That's about $225/week if you work 50 hour weeks, and $900/month.

Having myself worked at McDonald's to help pay for university, I can tell you that they do not care about your well-being or advancement.

[ Parent ]
so? (4.00 / 3) (#38)
by klamath on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 12:40:10 PM EST

Health care is privatized in the US. If you don't want to pay an insane amount of money every time you go to the doctor, you will need health insurance. Health insurance is very, very expensive. If you work at McDonald's, it is very likely you will not be able to afford decent health care.
Sure, you might not be able to afford health care. So what? It's not a god-given right -- if you want medical service, you should be prepared to pay for that service.
Income taxes are withheld at the source.
So? I'm not in favour of taxation in general, but I don't see what your point has to do with anything. If income tax wasn't taken out of your paycheck (and instead you'd just need to pay once per year), you'd still end up paying the same amount. In fact, it would probably just cause more incompetent people to be unable to pay their taxes due to poor money management. And because someone working at McDonald's is likely to be fairly poor, they get all the benefits of the welfare state -- if anyone has a justification for complaining about income tax, it's NOT the people making $5.15 an hour.

Furthermore, it's interesting that you complain about both the lack of public health care, and the existence of income tax. You can't have your cake and eat it to, you know.

Having myself worked at McDonald's to help pay for university, I can tell you that they do not care about your well-being or advancement.
What do you expect? That McDonald's is a charitable organization established to insure that a few lucky people (their "employees") can live a life of luxury? That's absurd: McDonald's are in the business of making money, like any corporation. If you don't like it, don't work for them.

The expectation that McDonald's (or any corporation) would be particularly concerned with your individual welfare is remarkably self-indulgent.

I don't see how any of your points relate to the previous assertion, which was that once someone starts work at a low-paying job, they're effectively trapped and can't rise any higher in society.

[ Parent ]

That's an American perspective (none / 0) (#48)
by obsidian head on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:09:26 PM EST

A European would find that state of affairs frightening. In fact, I assume fraise is not from the US.

I know, there are tradeoffs in more socialist countries. Still, they have certain standards about what work is supposed to mean for people.

[ Parent ]
I'm not American... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by klamath on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 05:18:47 PM EST

so it can't be that unique to Americans.
A European would find that state of affairs frightening.
I find it interesting that K5ers seem to feel they can discount a point of view so completely by (wrongly) categorizing it according to the geographic region in which the author allegedly lives.
I know, there are tradeoffs in more socialist countries.
That is obvious -- the only relevant question is: are the tradeoffs worth it? Any possible political system will have some kind of "tradeoffs" -- even in slavery there is a kind of freedom, for instance. Simply observing that fact doesn't get us anywhere, and really has little to do with a proper evaluation of the political system.

[ Parent ]
I'm not a K5er (none / 0) (#73)
by obsidian head on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 02:17:00 AM EST

I find it interesting that K5ers seem to feel they can discount a point of view so completely by (wrongly) categorizing it according to the geographic region in which the author allegedly lives.
I find it interesting that you think I am a K5er. Look at my comment history.

No, I'm someone who will soon have dual citizenship in the US and an EU country. I'm originally from the States. And if you're not from the States, you certainly take your... unique... point of view to more exaggerated lengths than any American I know.

[ Parent ]

Point by point (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by obsidian head on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:26:14 PM EST

If income tax wasn't taken out of your paycheck (and instead you'd just need to pay once per year), you'd still end up paying the same amount.
Wrong. You lose the interest gained on that tax. In fact, the IRS makes a mint on it, with the nominal reason that it's to stop tax evasion.
The expectation that McDonald's (or any corporation) would be particularly concerned with your individual welfare is remarkably self-indulgent.
I have seen people put saliva in burgers. Fellow programmers often do similarly destructive things when they perceive themselves treated badly. These are the costs of low morale and a feeling that you're being used. Remember -- society can, and should, punish companies that don't know how to take care of their workers.

Undetectable burger saliva is just not good for society.

So what? It's not a god-given right -- if you want medical service, you should be prepared to pay for that service.
Life, liberty, nor the pursuit of happiness are god-given rights either.
I don't see how any of your points relate to the previous assertion, which was that once someone starts work at a low-paying job, they're effectively trapped and can't rise any higher in society.
Clearly, the psychological wear & tear, combined with just barely enough money to pay decent rent and food, form a difficult cycle of poverty. I should know. I tried it once. Fortunately I had escape routes.
The expectation that McDonald's (or any corporation) would be particularly concerned with your individual welfare is remarkably self-indulgent.
As I recall from basic polisci, corporations were only allowed to incorporate when they could demonstrate they provided for the common good. However, this requirement was eased when companies gained influence in the federal government.

[ Parent ]
response to your claims (none / 0) (#66)
by klamath on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 06:09:08 PM EST

Wrong. You lose the interest gained on that tax. In fact, the IRS makes a mint on it, with the nominal reason that it's to stop tax evasion.
Well, stopping tax evasion does seem to be a pretty valid reason to me. Furthermore, if you're being paid on a quarterly (or monthly, or weekly) basis, why shouldn't you be taxed with the same frequency? You're supposed to be paying tax on your income -- if you allow people to collect their incomes and then pay tax at some subsequent point, you're effectively allowing them to borrow money off the government, invest it, and then keep the profit.
I have seen people put saliva in burgers.
That's really disgusting. Anyone who would do a thing like that is a fucking barbarian, and should be treated as such. I'm quite shocked that someone could be enough of an asshole to do that.
Fellow programmers often do similarly destructive things when they perceive themselves treated badly.
Oh, so if you "perceive yourself to be treated badly", that is sufficient justification for flagrant acts of corporate sabotage? That's ridiculous -- the party at fault in that situation is the worker.
Remember -- society can, and should, punish companies that don't know how to take care of their workers.
Why? According to what standard should a company's behavior be judged? If someone chooses to work for a company and, subsequently, chooses to endure the way that company treats them, what right does anyone have to interfere? This arrangement is clearly in the best interests of both parties involved, since the employee doesn't choose to find another job, and the employer hasn't replaced the employee with someone else.
Undetectable burger saliva is just not good for society.
Which is why asshole workers who perform those kinds of sabotage should be fired.
Life, liberty, nor the pursuit of happiness are god-given rights either.
No, but they're guaranteed by the Consitution, and a fundamental part of a capitalist society. The notion that "health care" is a fundamental right is ridiculous.
Clearly, the psychological wear & tear, combined with just barely enough money to pay decent rent and food, form a difficult cycle of poverty.
I'm not saying that it should necessarily be easy to raise yourself up from poverty, or that it's particularly pleasant to be poor. But all of the alleged "problems" identified in the previous post are not really problems at all, and seeking to "solve" them will just make the situation worse.
As I recall from basic polisci, corporations were only allowed to incorporate when they could demonstrate they provided for the common good. However, this requirement was eased when companies gained influence in the federal government.
LOL, that's ridiculous. Businesses operate upon a principle of mutual self-interest: if I want to buy a product and a company wants to sell it to me, that is sufficient justification for the existence of the company. Your theory corporation influence was responsible for this change is laughable -- care to back that up with any evidence?

[ Parent ]
Response to responses (none / 0) (#72)
by obsidian head on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 02:06:30 AM EST

Your theory corporation influence was responsible for this change is laughable -- care to back that up with any evidence?
Neither of us work in polisci or law. I'm a programmer, and I have no idea what kind of a rock you've been under. I might have searched for information (it's all a Google away...) since I am aware of having this confirmed while reading the web, but you talk about "laughter" in something I clearly take more seriously than you.
No, but they're guaranteed by the Consitution, and a fundamental part of a capitalist society. The notion that "health care" is a fundamental right is ridiculous.
Thank you for conceding that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is not a "god given right." Drive through please, and we have a sale on contaminated burgers.
Which is why asshole workers who perform those kinds of sabotage should be fired.
But they're not, and new ones get hired all the time. After all, what do workers owe corporations in addition to the nominal duties of making profit? Pure business. Plus, it only happens to people like you. No one does it to decent people.
Well, stopping tax evasion does seem to be a pretty valid reason to me.
I assume you're for copy protection management on all PCs too. After all, let's take away rights to curb various offenders.
I'm not saying that it should necessarily be easy to raise yourself up from poverty, or that it's particularly pleasant to be poor.
Really? You must not be poor. Most sane people find poverty a societal bad. I'm far from poor myself, but I know how slavish believing otherwise would be.

[ Parent ]
more responses ;-) (none / 0) (#74)
by klamath on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 02:26:16 AM EST

I'm a programmer
As am I.
you talk about "laughter" in something I clearly take more seriously than you.
I take it seriously; what I find laughable is that you can say "corporate conspiracy" with a straight face.
Thank you for conceding that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is not a "god given right."
Not "god-given" in the sense that God gave it to us (I'm an atheist), but nevertheless fundamental in the sense that it forms a fundamental part of any capitalist society. Go look up "natural law" and "lassez faire capitalism".
Drive through please, and we have a sale on contaminated burgers.
Whatever you say...
After all, what do workers owe corporations in addition to the nominal duties of making profit?
They have a duty to perform the tasks for which they're being paid.

[ Parent ]
Easily avoidable mistakes... (none / 0) (#55)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:00:59 PM EST

Make me very suspicious about everything else you say. If you _actually_ work 50 hour weeks at minimum wage, your employer is _required_ to pay time and a half for the overtime. That means it's about $248 a week. There are about 50 weeks of work in a typical year, so that's $12,400 a year. I'm not saying that that's a living wage, but that's no excuse for calculating things wrong.

[ Parent ]
cost of living (4.50 / 2) (#65)
by FredGray on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 05:35:28 PM EST

The cost of living varies dramatically depending on where in the US you live. In a big city, it's true that you really can't every begin to live on minimum wage. In the small-town Midwest, you probably can.

I live in Champaign, Illinois now. I think you could live reasonably here on minimum wage. As a grad student, I have a $14500/year stipend, which is only modestly above minimum wage. After taxes, that's about $1000/month. Health insurance and student fees are $1800 per year, so $150 per month. I've paid anywhere from $200 to $400 per month in rent while I've been here, which leaves a reasonable fraction for food and entertainment.

[ Parent ]

INS: Follow the word of the law, not the spirit (3.88 / 9) (#13)
by levsen on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 07:53:02 AM EST

From what I know of a friend of a friend (duh) is that once you've been selected by the lottery, there is a difference between the green card and actually moving to the US. He got the greed card right away and has 5 years time to actually make use of it, or it will expire. He didn't have to show a job offer or anything for the first part. Regarding the INS: Several observations after going through an 7 month ordeal with the INS (resulting in complete failure, regarding H1B not green cards though):

- They are not logic and do not understand the spirit of the law they are implementing nor the business of job markets, offers etc.

- Unfortunately your chances are best if you hire an expensive lawyer with a long experience dealing with the INS. Tips and tricks are what it is all about. Some lawyers are actual former INS officers. The inside knowledge works. Again this should be easier if you have won the lottery, other visas are a much tougher subject, but I welcome this opportunity to rant about the INS. :)
This comment is printed on 100% recycled electrons.

Off the wall suggestion (4.42 / 7) (#14)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 08:11:59 AM EST

If he speaks English fluently, and is in good health and under 30, he could enlist in the military for a couple years. There should be a military attache office at the US Embassy, they ought to be able to help him out.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
Do they take foreigners? (4.50 / 2) (#21)
by Pac on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:28:27 AM EST

Does the US military accept foreigners? It sounds strange to me, specially these days. Wouldn't it pose a security risk?

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
Absolutely! (4.66 / 3) (#25)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:44:57 AM EST

In fact, it's the quickest way to become a citizen.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Doesn't help much (4.80 / 5) (#40)
by quartz on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:12:35 PM EST

Yes, the Army allows foreigners to enlist, but only if they already have a green card, which kind of defeats the purpose of joining the Army to get a green card. It's a great way for a green card holder to become a citizen, though.



--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]
I think what he means... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by ShadowNode on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:42:40 PM EST

Is that he should tell the interviewer he intends to join the military, when he gets the green card.

[ Parent ]
yeah (none / 0) (#67)
by Delirium on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 06:40:02 PM EST

The military pretty much takes anybody that's fit for the job, as they've had recruitment problems lately (they even run TV ads trying to get people to enlist). So if you say you're planning to enlist in the military, you in effect have a guaranteed job, which should please the INS guy.

[ Parent ]
How do I get out of the US? (2.50 / 2) (#22)
by paf0 on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:30:54 AM EST

I have been looking for jobs in London. I keep going to the UK job sites and applying for everything that needs my QA automation skills. There seems to be just as many jobs there as in the US. I am wondering if anyone has been able to do this and if there are agencies that specialize in this. Any ideas?
-----------
The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. --B. F. Skinner
icq 3505006
Sorry if this is obvious.... (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by Elkor on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:36:46 AM EST

There seems to be just as many jobs there as in the US.

This probably has a lot to do with the simple fact that England is a MUCH smaller country than the US.

What field are you looking to apply in? Maybe you should investigate a different field?

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Keep looking (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by Oblomov on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:46:42 AM EST

You have to be persistent. Not living anywhere near your new place of employment is reason enough for an employer to dismiss your resume. There are, however, many employers. Contact a lot, reply to a lot of job ads, work on your resume. As with any job search, contacting people directly is usually better than waiting until they have a vacancy. Eventually you will find someone that will hire you or at least conduct a phone interview.

I have done this myself. I am Dutch but wanted to work in a place with beaches and palm trees. I have sent out dozens of letters/faxes and e-mails to all over the world, usually I wouldn't even get a confirmation letter. This very demotivating process took me about 8 months but I now live and work in Bermuda.


[ Parent ]
If your in London.... (none / 0) (#50)
by sisyphus on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:21:56 PM EST

Hit EA (Chertsey/London) for a QA position, money is lousy but promotion is easy,job can be fun, and is really easy, at least you'll get some money whilst you find a real job.

For contact details you can call directory enquiries or local job agencies in the area.


The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
[ Parent ]

Two words (3.50 / 18) (#24)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:43:02 AM EST

"Flight school"

That is funny... (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by bosk on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 10:15:21 AM EST

in its own dark way. I like that.

[ Parent ]
Two words (1.00 / 1) (#31)
by inerte on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 10:23:44 AM EST

"Afghans Civilians"

I don't think mine was funny. Neither is a troll, okay? I am trying to make a small point here, just showing how easy is to offend. I felt offended (as someone who might go to USA again in the future).

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Plato
[ Parent ]

Perhaps you missed (4.00 / 3) (#33)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 11:04:05 AM EST

the story, but the INS just sent visas to two of the 9/11 pilots c/o their flight school.

Now if you were an INS official, particularly one charged with timely deliveries, you might have reason to be offended.

[ Parent ]

Judging from the ratings (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 11:57:07 AM EST

There are several people who missed that news. If I'd known that many people would rate it "1" I'd've rated it 5 instead of 4.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Ah well (3.50 / 2) (#42)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:17:22 PM EST

I'm (sniff!) not in it for the points...it's all about the craft, you know?

[ Parent ]
That was really funny! (1.00 / 1) (#49)
by sisyphus on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:18:39 PM EST

yeah i hate to repeat other people's commnent but that made me laugh,thanxs.Irony....


The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
[ Parent ]

The INS are really bad. (4.25 / 4) (#34)
by theboz on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 11:24:59 AM EST

I am bringing my fiancee to the U.S. under a fiancee visa (actually we might be cancelling that if she can just come here on her tourist visa and still get married legally) so I have things a bit easier than someone trying to come in with an occupational visa. Student visas are also easy right now, but as you probably know from the news, members of the U.S. congress are wanting to shut down that program, if not the entire INS (INS are assholes, congress are worse.)

So any answers you might get from this story could, and probably will, change. They are talking about reform in the INS and decreasing the number of visas (this could just be student visas) so it's hard to say what will happen.

As far as getting into the U.S., your best bet is to hire an immigration lawyer. I have one that I picked because they are close to where I lived (until recently) and had been involved with all sorts of international law, ranging from many types of immigration all the way to reparations for the Holocaust. They also were cheaper than comparable ones and seemed nicer to deal with as well. If you hire a lawyer, you can let them take care of it. Of course, if you are going through a job, then they should take care of it for you. That's not as common in the U.S. right now as it was a year or two ago though.

Stuff.

Sure... (2.00 / 1) (#44)
by Danse on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:47:51 PM EST

(INS are assholes, congress are worse.)

Guess who elects them though? The majority of Americans are assholes, apparently.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
I'm an asshole (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by theboz on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:44:29 PM EST

The majority of Americans are assholes, apparently.

I know I am, but it's in a different way than most other Americans. Also, I don't really feel like there is much choice. You either vote democrat or republican, or wind up with an experiment like Governor "The Body." I guess most smart people don't run for office.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

heh.. (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by Danse on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 06:47:50 PM EST

Give me the experimental guy any day. They can hardly do much worse, and they at least have the potential to do much better.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Bad Idea (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by phatboy on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:29:55 PM EST

I brought my foreign wife over. The one thing the INS said was really non-kosher was to bring someone in on a tourist visa and then, once in the country, apply for residency. They see this as indicitive of fraud. Their advice to us was to always apply outside of the US for any joint visa. Check with the INS before you do something that may cause problems.

Contrary to what everyone says in this thread, the INS was prompt, courtious and helpful when we applied to the US. They indicated, however, that being married for three years and immigrating from a country with little fraud (Australia) greases the wheels significantly. Our "interview" consisted solely of showing up, paying the fee and turning in the paperwork.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I know (none / 0) (#61)
by theboz on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 04:29:17 PM EST

I'm going after the fiancee visa thing. The lawyer said we could actually get away with it and not have any reprocussions, but he still would not advise it. In his lawyerspeak way he told me that a lot of people do it and never get punished but he can't say to do it because he would get in trouble.

However, I decided to pay them to help take care of everything. While they are charging me $1500 now (well, I already paid) and then like $3,000 or so for the permanent resident status, I figure it's all easier going through them since they will be familiar with any shortcuts or policies involved.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

The lawyer is worth it. (none / 0) (#63)
by Silver222 on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 05:05:37 PM EST

Unless it's a bad laywer, of course. I married an American Girl, (apologies to Tom Petty), and our immigration lawyer has literally been a lifesaver. The whole fiancee visa sort of sucks though, I feel for you.

We were under the illusion that it wouldn't be too hard for a Canadian to marry an American. Wrong....it's a huge pain in the ass. Getting all the INS forms done. The stupid questions on the forms (like the nazi party one. They already have your birthdate...so why do they make you fill it out when you were born 30 years after WW2 ended? Path of least resistance, I assume), getting a drivers license, getting a SSN, getting a work permit, it seems like it never ends.

Having said that, there was another poster here who was right. If you have all your forms in order, things generally go not too bad. Of course, I'm not saying that the INS is an agency filled with warm and cheerful workers, because they definitely are not. Don't even get me started on the rent a cops who guard the federal buildings in California.....they make the INS look like a model operation.



[ Parent ]

Woaahh!! (none / 0) (#82)
by ScratchyBadger on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 02:43:28 PM EST

I really have to advise against entering the US as a tourist and then marrying. I entered on a K1 visa from England, whereas some friends of mine tried it the quick way. Very bad idea for them. When I entered the US I made sure I entered via one of the ports that can set you up with a CARD (not just a stamp) that will allow you to work in the US. Within a month I had a good paying job, my friends however had a horrible time. It took him over a year to get work authorization(which only made the rest of the process harder).

As I read in a post, they also see it as sneaky tactics and they REALLY don't like it when people take matters into their own hands and work around a system that is already in place for exactly what you wish to do. If you start of with them on a bad footing you're only going to make it harder for them to accept you later on.

The rules of thumb I've gone by are make sure you have all the required documentation and them some, thoroughly read all documentation and, do what they say and nobody gets hurt ;)

I did it without a lawyer, just me and plenty of browsing wesites and newsgroups reading about previous experiences, In my opinion that helped me far more than any lawyer would be able to as they just don't speak my language ;)


[ Parent ]
It's not impossible, but get a lawyer anyway (4.66 / 3) (#37)
by quasipalm on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 12:00:10 PM EST

Now, I'm an American, so I'm not real keen on just any-ol-body bending the law to fit their circumstance. But, I think most people would be surprised to find how many different ways there are to get into the states. For example, a friend of mine, from Albania, was admitted under the "political refugee" clause, simply because life sucked for her back in Albania. Most people think that you have to be fleeing for your dear life to use that as a reason to gain entry, but it's actually broader than that. The coolest part is that she was living in NYC (working under the table) illegally while her request was processed... And they knew that because that's where they sent her papers to.

So, if you want to come to the states and aren't willing to get terrorist-organization sponsorship, I would get a lawyer (probably state-side) that knows the ins-and-outs of the INS.

By the way, if you think it's hard to get into the states, it's actually much harder to get into many EU countries. I was looking into moving to France a while back and was pretty much told to forget it, since it's impossible for working class foreigners to get respectable jobs there (largely due to anti-immigration tactics of the unions). Funny that EU gives the states shit for being xenophobic...
(hi)
My advice: Ivan should stay in Bulgaria (1.00 / 11) (#39)
by Patrick Bateman 10005 on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:02:23 PM EST

We're full here.

we're full ey? (5.00 / 4) (#45)
by hovil on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:52:22 PM EST

what exactly is it that you are full of?

[ Parent ]
My Life as an INS Lackey (4.25 / 4) (#46)
by opendna on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 01:55:27 PM EST

My history: I immigrated from Canada to the US in 1987. After (legally!) paying thousands of dollars to the INS to "expidite" the process I was sworn in as US citizen in the summer of 2001. Shortly thereafter I applied for a job with the INS which, nine months after the first application, has not yet materialized.

Who works for the INS:

  1. Former military folks
  2. Immigrants
  3. Transfers from within the Federal Government
  4. Young Americans with transfer ambitions (e.g. to FBI or CIA)
Others have attacked the individuals who work for the INS because they have had unpleasant experiences (and hating government workers is chic). I understand their frustration but believe they are being very unfair to the individuals. In my experience there are two types of INS interviews: Interogation and Information.

[A] There are interogation interviews. If someone's interview is a screening for eligibility, it will be unpleasant. It will be filled with trick questions, hostility and extreme scruitny. Those who go through this process usually leave shaken, scared and/or angry. "That witch hated me!" they think. "Why are government workers always so MEAN?" Because it's their job to be nobbs. They are trying to protect this country by filtering out spys, terrorists, criminals and traffickers. You were a suspect, how did you EXPECT to be treated?

ADVICE: Have your papers in order. Have answers ready for EVERY discrepency. Always appeal to the American ideal. Don't worry about getting confused or upset; let them see it. But leave no doubt about your testimony: you're just an honest hard working guy.

[B] There are inverviews which verify information. I have always found these to be rather pleasant, even fun, experiences. The object isn't to flush out evil elements, just to make sure files are up-to-date. Relax and play along.

I'm not trying to be chic (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by bosk on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:06:06 PM EST

Our experience at the INS interogation, the so-called Green Card interview, was nothing like what is portrayed by Hollywood. It was straightforward and all the officer wanted to see was documented proof of everything: that we shared a bank account, that she was on my insurance, that we owned property jointly, etc. They give you a list of items that they will review months before the interview so nothing was a surprise. I had a problem with none of that as I had all of my documents in order. That was the best part of the INS.

We had to wait in line to fill out some other paperwork. These, as you say, information people, are just harried and overworked as well as some other qualities that I posted elsewhere in this article, hence my poor service experience.

In fairness to the INS, the bitterness on display in another post of mine is directly more squarely at Customs, specificly Chicago Customs. If you don't have a US passport when passing through O'Hare airport be prepared to be harassed. When I occasionally travel back to the States without my wife I have no problems getting in and people actually smile at me. With the wife however we get questions and attitude and sometimes taken aside for an interogation. At first I was somewhat paranoid, I thought that we made it on to some sort of watch-list. Then I heard the story of a neighbor of my folks, a British citizen, no US passport, has lived in Chicago for 30 years and worked as a flight attendant for BA. She said she was routinely "harassed" at Chicago Customs as well and this happens to be a characteristic peculiar to Chicago Customs.

I'm not sure exactly what group of jack-booted thugs are running the show over there but they're creating a lot of unnesscessary ill-will.



[ Parent ]
Chicago customs (none / 0) (#62)
by FredGray on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 04:59:31 PM EST

She said she was routinely "harassed" at Chicago Customs as well and this happens to be a characteristic peculiar to Chicago Customs.

That's really interesting...I tend to go through customs at Chicago O'Hare a few times a year. I'm a US citizen, but I tend to keep an eye on what's happening in front of me in line. I've never seen anyone pulled aside at the point where they collect your declaration forms (except when they said they had visited a farm, in which case they were sent to have their shoes disinfected).

Detroit, on the other hand, is pretty aggressive. You can almost expect to be lined up against the wall to be sniffed by the dogs every time.

[ Parent ]

Observations (4.50 / 4) (#47)
by quartz on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:03:50 PM EST

A couple of comments on what others have said so far, and my personal observations as a "furriner" in the US:

  • Lawyers: yes, hiring an immigration lawyer is basically your best bet, but lawyers are awfully expensive. The minimum you should expect to pay a lawyer for green card processing is about $3,000, and keep in mind that you have to have this money up front; the lawyer won't be willing to wait for you to get a job and pay him later. Besides, a lawyer will only help you with the paperwork; you have to take care of issues like finding an employer yourself. So yes, do get a lawyer, but only after you've been accepted at the interview and after you've figured out how you'll be able to afford his fee.
  • The INS. Quite a few people commented on the rudeness of the INS workers and the rigidity of the system. In my experience, if you do everything right (i.e., do exactly what they expect you to do), you will only have a minimum of interaction with INS workers and the whole process will be very smooth. I had to go through the whole routine twice (the first time to get a US visa and to actually enter the country, the second time to change my status after about a year) and I've only seen an INS worker once at the port of entry, for about 5 minutes. Everything else has been done through the mail. So as long as you give them the papers they ask for, you have nothing to worry about. As a side note, I had more trouble with the workers at the American consulate in my country (i.e. the State Dept. workers, since it's the State Dept. who issues you the initial visa, not the INS -- they only deal with green cards, which are not visas) than with the INS.
  • Study vs. employment: these days, getting a student visa is far easier than an employment-based one, mainly because the job market is horrible and employers are actually required by law to prove they've been unable to find suitable job candidates within the local workforce pool before they can hire foreigners. For a student visa, you only have to be accepted at a US university. The bad news is that universities won't even consider your application if you can't prove you have enough money to support yourself here for the duration of the study program, which kind of leaves you right where you started. There is a way out though; some universities will offer you full financial support, but only for graduate programs and only if you're really, really good (or if you belong to a minority, state universities really love minority graduate students). Also, if you have (good) friends in the US, you can have one of them sponsor you -- they show a bank statement proving that they have enough money to support you for one full year (which for the average "el cheapo" public school can be anywhere between $15,000 - $25,000). Note that they don't have to actually give you any money; they only have to prove to the INS that they're willing to take responsibility so that you won't become a "liability" for the US government.

In my opinion, you'll have a far easier time coming to the US as a student than as a "lucky" DV lottery winner. If you get past the financial support hurdle, you have a place to live on campus, an (almost) guaranteed job also on campus, and a lot of (free) professional support to help you overcome the culture shock and to adjust to the local way of life; whereas as a lottery winner you only have a piece of paper saying that you're allowed to live in the US; you have to find a job and a place to live and figure out how everything works on your own, which, especially if you're not already fluent in English, can be quite a challenge. I know quite a few DV lottery winners who gave up after a few months and went back to their countries.

HTH.



--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
Re: Observations (none / 0) (#76)
by VP on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 03:07:04 PM EST

In my opinion, you'll have a far easier time coming to the US as a student than as a "lucky" DV lottery winner.
You are wrong about this. Having won the DV lottery is the easiest way to get to the US. While your point of getting an attorney is a very good one, keep in mind that this is not a "Green Card processing" which requires thousands of dollars. You are however correct about the difficulties of making this huge transition. If Ivan really wants to go live in the US, he should be prepared to face many hurdles. Most people from Eastern Europe manage pretty well, though - amazingly enough there are more beaurocratic entities than even the INS...

[ Parent ]
A lawyer is less than necessary in my experience (none / 0) (#77)
by cam on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 11:11:14 PM EST

yes, hiring an immigration lawyer is basically your best bet, but lawyers are awfully expensive.

My wife and I found that untrue in my case, if anything the money we spent on an immigration lawyer was wasted. The amount was excorbant and the value insignificant. In the end my wife took care of the paperwork and did a million times better job than what that lawyer could. In my experience too, the INS people were helpful and courteous. They were also more than happy to give us the correct information to file out the correct forms and on time.

A lawyer wasnt needed in my case. By the same token my native language is English. I noticed that in the INS room there were translaters as well as lawyers who helped the non-english speakers.

Apart from my documents getting held up in New Hampshire somewhere, adding to the length of the process, once in their offices it was all done very quickly and efficiently. I have no complaints with my dealings with the INS.

I think a lawyer is only for those with lots of money or those unsure of their own ability to handle the paperwork.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Don't! (1.00 / 1) (#52)
by sisyphus on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 02:31:56 PM EST

Well no one said it, and us anti-americnas must stick together, hey don't those people call foreigners aliens?, and ask questions like are you a communist?, and do you wish to take down the government?, or maybe I have seen waaaaay too many films, really I should hop over and see what the fuss is about.


The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

Questions the INS Asks (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by opendna on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:02:09 PM EST

To enter the country the questions go along the lines of:
  • May I see your passport and visa?
  • Are you carrying any fruits or vegtables?
  • Have you been to a farm in the las 6 months?
  • etc.
"hey don't those people call foreigners aliens?"

The INS? Yep.

"and ask questions like are you a communist?"

I think it's "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the communist party?" They also ask "Between the year 1939 and 1945, were you a member of the Nazi Party, the SS...?"

"and do you wish to take down the government?"

More like "overthrow the US government by force". They also ask if you have ever trafficked drugs, solicited prostitution, been a prostitute, worked for a foreign government or been deported.

[ Parent ]

Aliens (none / 0) (#58)
by bosk on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 03:18:23 PM EST

My wife objects to being classified as an "alien" as well. From a foreigner's point of view, when you first learn English, you at some time find out that in the United States people refer to extraterrestials as "aliens." Then you move to the US and all government documentation refers to you as an "alien" as well. It's confusing, somewhat insulting and also somewhat entertaining, depending if you are the alien or the spouse of the alien. :-)

[ Parent ]
Aliens (none / 0) (#78)
by bodrius on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 03:27:39 AM EST

It could be ironic.

Everytime I read an INS form I have images of Dan Akroyd and family making eggs and beer for breakfast.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Um... (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by trhurler on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 07:02:35 PM EST

Does your friend have any marketable skills? What sort of education does he have? What kind of work is he willing to do? Does he have any relatives here? Does he have plans for his future? Does he speak English? I'm not trying to be mean, but the way you've described this guy, we have no idea if he's got any chance of getting a job, no idea whether he has any business being here, and no reason to believe he really even exists!

More info needed.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Ivan's skills: (3.50 / 2) (#70)
by Canimal on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 07:39:29 PM EST

To those that have asked:

Ivan is a computer guy, programming VB and SQL databases.

He speaks English, Russian, and Bulgarian.

I'm sure he'd be delighted if anyone wants to contact him re. his database work.

Matt



My experience a couple of days ago... (4.75 / 4) (#71)
by mystic on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 12:32:50 AM EST

My case is slightly different from the one mentioned in this story, but maybe it will help in some way. I had applied for a non-immigrant VISA to U.S.A to present my paper at IEEE ICC 2002 Conference in NYC. I was asked to report for an interview, which I did couple of days ago. The questions went like this:

  1. First time applying for US VISA?
    A:- Yes
  2. How long have you been here? (side note: I am a permanent resident of country ABC and was applying at US embassy in ABC)
    A:- 6 years, I am a PR here and am serving a bond with the government for 6 years.
  3. Why are you going to US?
    A:- IEEE Conference, to present my paper.
  4. Who is sponsoring the trip?
    A:- XYZ , a ABC government agency.
  5. Any family in ABC?
    A:- No
  6. Do you have a house of your own in ABC or is it rented?
    A:- Rented
  7. Any family in US?
    A:- No
  8. Can I see your last three months' payslips?
    A:- Shows them the slips.
  9. I am sorry, our present rules and your present documents does not allow us to issue a VISA.
The reason given was that "You have not shown that you have suffeciently strong family, social or economic ties to your place of residence to insure that your projected stay in United Sates will be temporary."

Unlucky!!! (3.50 / 2) (#79)
by bayankaran on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 11:47:24 AM EST

Sorry to say, but you were unlucky.

If you consider going to US was not a big deal and the missed opportunity of presenting your paper was not very crucial in your career, you should be able to overcome this setback.



[ Parent ]
Get your friend an immigration lawyer (4.33 / 3) (#75)
by VP on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 02:40:58 PM EST

First of all, you are wrong that a job offer or a sizable amount of money is required. Both would be very helpful, but there are many other things that will help Ivan with his interview:
    Have everything that is being asked for ready for the interview
    Clean police record
    Translated diplomas for completed education
    A current resume
    Show that there is a contact person in the US who will help Ivan when he first gets to the US. Note that this is not an offer or obligation to support him and his family, just to help with the transition. I know there was a company in Chicago which helped Bulgarians in exactly that way, but i am not sure if it still exists. Also, the author claims he is Ivan's friend. How strong is your friendship?
    Forget anything that has been said here, and try to find an immigration lawyer for a phone consultation. This should cost no more than a few hundred dollars. This is still a signifficant amount for Bulgaria, but given the life-changing decision being made, it is a small investment. Some immigration law web sites are http://shusterman.com and http://www.immigration-law.com
If Ivan indeed has computer skills, good education/employment history, knows English, is relatively young, then he has excellent chance of getting the visa.

INS division (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by nusuth on Tue Mar 19, 2002 at 01:19:20 PM EST

Make sure he interviews with someone from division six. As far as I can tell from the movie, they are very friendly to fellow human beings.

Coming to America, INS willing: | 82 comments (74 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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