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Reichette

3 Years In Texas Now!

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It's been a while since I have posted anything here - thought I might give a quick update of our "fates and fortunes" since arriving in Texas 3 years ago.

 

(Background: We won the Green Card in 2010 and had an LSD trip to MD in Mar-11)

 

After unsuccessfully applying for jobs from SA for 5 months on end, I finally landed an interview with Ericsson a mere 2 weeks before my contract with MTN came to an end (30-Nov-11). Two phone call interviews later, I was given a start date in exactly 14 days' time.... (Heck!) I immediately submitted 24hr notice at my MTN job (vat so, BEE!), sold two cars within a day (you can only do that with a Toyota, right! :-) ), packed our entire 4 BR house into boxes and moved it into the garage, signed up tenants, closed bank accounts, performed various hand-overs (at Body Corporate, Church, etc.) and booked flights, etc. All done in a record 10 days!

 

Arrived in Plano, TX on a cold winter's morning at 2am while sleet was coming down (will never forget that).

 

Stayed in an extended stay hotel for the first two months. Then moved into a 2-BR apartment. After 18 months of carrying our 7-yr old Special Needs child up and down two flights of stairs every day, we moved to a nearby apartment complex. 3BR, Ground floor this time. Stayed there for a further 18 months, until about 2 months ago when we moved into a house. Was leasing it at first, but finally closed on the sale just two days ago!

 

I was with Ericsson as contractor for 28 months and was the last of 20 engineers who got laid off over a 12 month period following the loss of a big project. The Lord has been so faithful in providing me with a permanent job that started exactly 2 weeks after my lay-off. On the last day at E///, I didn't even had a clue where the next job would come from. (To put it in better context: I am the only breadwinner as my wife looks after our special needs child and our 2nd son that was born here and is now 18 months old. Our annual out-of-pocket health care costs run between $19k and $23k per annum. Jobs in my line are as scarce as chicken teeth. The engineer who got laid off just before me - now 8 months ago - has still not found a job! I got mine right here in Plano again, albeit a 30% drop in salary! We thank the Lord every day for His mercies though)

 

The reason why we couldn't buy a house any sooner is actually two-fold: 1) The job at E/// was very uncertain at all times - they could lay one off by means of a mere phone call, 2) After buying a 2nd vehicle last year, it took a full 12 months for my credit score to recover to an 'excellent' level again (where one enjoys lowest interest rates).

 

My boet & family emigrated to QLD, Australia in Oct-08. My sister & family followed them in Apr-09. My parents (now 70yrs of age) sold the family farms in 2013, moved to Oz in June 2014 and have since bought and moved into a house close to my siblings. I have no direct family left in SA. My wife has a sister and mother still in SA. We've never been back to SA for a visit yet, but hope to go to Australia for a first time visit during our Summer Holidays this year.

 

We absolutely love it here in Texas! Our next milestone is our Citizenship in 2yrs from now.

Edited by Reichette
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Well done Freddie, glad to hear you guys are coping well.

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I remember you posting before you even got your visas - and how concerned you were at the eligibility of your special needs child as that is an issue for some other countries like Australia, but not for the USA.

 

Sounds like everything is working out really well for you here in your new country - so glad for you! And a little citizen in the family now too! Not too long for the rest of you either.

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Congrats Reichette for making it this far.

 

Sounds like a journey with some challenges. One of the options I'm considering is to make the move and then look for a job as it seems from previous comments that it is easier looking for a job when you are in the US. What is your opinion on this?

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Thanks guys - great to see some familiar names still active here! This forum has been such a valuable source of information to me and it is heartwarming to see that it is still going strong! Without a doubt, you guys are an integral part of it!

 

 

[at]CD2015: I guess it depends on one's personal circumstances: How many jobs there are available in your profession in the state / city you plan to move to, how much money you have to support yourself with while job hunting, whether you have unusual expenses (eg. special needs child as in our case), etc. It is probably easier to find and start a job once you're in the US. However, it not impossible to get a job while still in SA (as in my case).

 

 

Here is more-or-less what you need to know and do when applying from SA end (from my experience anyway):

 

* Don't even start applying unless you already have your GC in hand. Make sure that both your Resume and Cover Letter state the fact that you're a US Green Card holder.

 

* Be prepared to move at the drop-of-a-hat to start a job should you be successful. US firms would typically expect you to start between 14 and 30 days from accepting their offer (there are exceptions, of course).

 

* Throw away your 20-page CV and rewrite a one-page Resume plus Cover Letter. At most your Resume can be 2 pages long, but no longer than that. Cover letter, one page only. Google for examples of both.

 

* No personal information whatsoever on your Resume, other than your name, your e-mail address and your telephone number. (As much as you are tempted to put any other personal info on there: DON'T!!)

 

* Stay clear from a co.za e-mail address; use gmail or any other .com address. They must think you're in the US and not elsewhere.

 

* Only show a US telephone number on your Resume (again - they must think you're in the US and not elsewhere). You can register with Skype a number anywhere in the world. If someone from that country should call you on that number, it would appear to the person as if it is a local call. Meanwhile Skype will route the call via the Internet to your cell phone in SA (if you had set it up like that). One can make reverse calls like that too (i.e. in the opposite direction).

 

* Caution: Never lie about where you are if they should ask you that question. Be honest at all times. The only reason why you pretend to be already in the US, is to be able to get the "fish to bite at the hook" (i.e. for them to make that first call to you). It is VERY unlikely that they'll call you on a +27 number.

 

* List your resume with sites such as monster.com or careerbuilder.com or other companies that specialize in your profession.

 

* Be very patient as each online application that you fill out, will feel like taking an exam. It's a lot of work - no kidding. And often you may have to customize your resume / cover letter for the specific job you're applying for.

 

* It is worthwhile to note that it is mostly computers nowadays that search all the stored resumes in the database for a good match i.t.o. keywords that correlate with the job description. Once a resume gets selected by the computer, it gets forwarded to the Hiring manager and that's only when a human will be looking at it for the first time... That's why I say you have to customize your resume often in order to capture keywords from the job description of the job you're applying for. A lot of work, believe me...

 

* Not assuming that you suffer from this problem, but drop the chip on your shoulder (if you had one). You may have been the best of the best in SA, but for the US interviewer, more often than not, you're just a candidate who is no better or no worse than the next person - despite an impressive resume that may boast 20+ years experience all over the world, etc. Be modest and respectful at all times during the Interview. "Sir" and "Ma'am" go a long way in any interview - especially here in TX. And if ever you should go for a face-to-face interview, be sure to dress up formally (again, maybe only here in TX?).

 

* It is typical for them to have two or more interviews with one before they may decide to make an offer. Make sure after each interview that you know what the next step is until they hire someone. The process could be fast or sometimes it could drag out for weeks, even months; it all depends on what their requirements are. If you haven't heard from them in a while, follow up again by e-mail or phone call - they kind of expect that.

 

* Google around for interviewing tips. For example, it is courtesy to thank them afterwards by e-mail for the opportunity to be interviewed - it demonstrates interest in the job. Also, be prepared in the first interview to state your salary expectation - they WILL ask for it. You could easily loose the job right there by being too optimistic - do your homework beforehand and make sure you price yourself correctly.

 

* Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile that corresponds with what your Resume is saying. You are best advised to hide your Social media profile(s) from public viewing. These guys definitely do various background checks before they'll hire you.

 

* The better way to find a job in the US, is through networking or if you had a personal reference at the company you are trying to apply at.

 

 

There is probably a lot more to say on this topic, but you would probably do well if you started here. Good luck!

Edited by Reichette

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Today, 4 years ago I became a permanent resident - one more year to go till citizenship.

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Hi everyone

 

Tried to book one way ticket to USA for my son (he has immigrant visa in passport) but she insists we need to call Consulate to check if it is ok before she issues ticket.

 

Do I need to check?

 

Thanks

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Who is 'she'? Is that a travel agent?

No, you don't have to call the consulate. You are perfectly entitled to enter the USA on a one way ticket. In fact, you can do so on any type of visa. The official response to that question on a number of USA consulate websites (although SA doesn't cover that in it's list of FAQ's) is:

 

I have a visa; do I also need a return ticket?

If you hold a visa of any classification, including a B-1/B-2 visa, you are not required to hold a return ticket; you may enter the United States on a one-way ticket.

 

(See the USA consulate in The Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey etc, to name but a few).

 

Did you find that the one way ticket is cheaper than a return? In most cases, a cheap return is less expensive than a one way - you simply don't use the return portion of the ticket - throw it away.

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awesome thanks! will follow up return tickets as well tomorrow.

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Hi everyone

 

Tried to book one way ticket to USA for my son (he has immigrant visa in passport) but she insists we need to call Consulate to check if it is ok before she issues ticket.

 

Do I need to check?

 

Thanks

Why don't you just book it online? It's unlikley to be cheaper through an agent.

 

By the way I haven't followed everything in your case exactly - but have you entered the US yet? If your son is a derivative he can't enter first.

Who is 'she'? Is that a travel agent?

No, you don't have to call the consulate. You are perfectly entitled to enter the USA on a one way ticket. In fact, you can do so on any type of visa. The official response to that question on a number of USA consulate websites (although SA doesn't cover that in it's list of FAQ's) is:

 

I have a visa; do I also need a return ticket?

If you hold a visa of any classification, including a B-1/B-2 visa, you are not required to hold a return ticket; you may enter the United States on a one-way ticket.

 

(See the USA consulate in The Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey etc, to name but a few).

 

Did you find that the one way ticket is cheaper than a return? In most cases, a cheap return is less expensive than a one way - you simply don't use the return portion of the ticket - throw it away.

When we booked, it was only SAA where return tickets were cheaper than one-way. Some were very close in price though.

 

----

Edited by SJ27

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Wow! How inspired I am now. We are looking to apply in the lottery in Oct this year and our aim is also Texas - and surrounding areas. We have a 6 year old son. It's such a big discision! I have so many q's because we want to make an informed discision. If I may...

How long after you found out you won did you leave? And the interview - what did they ask and what did you need to prove to be the green card?

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LeeJ

 

Our number was 73xxxx. We were given an interview date for middle Sept 2014 but I still had not received my police clearance so I called the Consulate and extended for a week later. Back in Cape Town after the interview, on the 28th Sept the 3 of us received our 'packages' whereafter I immediately booked flights and we left on 12 Oct. Returned to SA in Dec, packed up in Jan, made all the necessary arrangements, flew back to USA beginning of March and still here, content and happy.

 

At the interview I provided full statement of assets and liabilities, bank statements, education certificates/diplomas, what I would do in America, why I wanted this, where we would be going, how we would support ourselves, etc, and all the other standard required docs. Strange thing is we prepared individually for all three of us, but they only spoke to me (told hubby and son to go sit down) and took only my education docs, my assets and liabilities, etc, grilled me for more than half an hour (I would say it was nerve-racking) and did not even interview my husband or son let alone take any of their documents! It goes without saying then that one should hope and pray that the lottery draws the family member with the most chance of being acceptable to the Consulate!!

 

I am of the opinion they really make sure they want that candidate, I also know that just the slightest hitch will sink it just because they do not necessarily have to give you 'more time' but when they do specifically for you to find more documents then you scramble around like a lunatic and keep in contact with them (call at 7am!) till you know they have everything. You have to have your ducks in a row!

 

I was battling to keep calm at the interview, talking through a very impersonal glass/intercom to a rude (no personality, no humor) American interviewer is unnerving. To suddenly find out, just because my name was drawn first at the lottery, they only wanted to speak to me and the rest of my 'support team' had to leave was such a shock. On a lighter note, if I had to do it over again I would take whatever my mother used to give someone who had to be calmed at a funeral!

 

Best of luck

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LeeJ

 

Our number was 73xxxx. We were given an interview date for middle Sept 2014 but I still had not received my police clearance so I called the Consulate and extended for a week later. Back in Cape Town after the interview, on the 28th Sept the 3 of us received our 'packages' whereafter I immediately booked flights and we left on 12 Oct. Returned to SA in Dec, packed up in Jan, made all the necessary arrangements, flew back to USA beginning of March and still here, content and happy.

 

At the interview I provided full statement of assets and liabilities, bank statements, education certificates/diplomas, what I would do in America, why I wanted this, where we would be going, how we would support ourselves, etc, and all the other standard required docs. Strange thing is we prepared individually for all three of us, but they only spoke to me (told hubby and son to go sit down) and took only my education docs, my assets and liabilities, etc, grilled me for more than half an hour (I would say it was nerve-racking) and did not even interview my husband or son let alone take any of their documents! It goes without saying then that one should hope and pray that the lottery draws the family member with the most chance of being acceptable to the Consulate!!

 

I am of the opinion they really make sure they want that candidate, I also know that just the slightest hitch will sink it just because they do not necessarily have to give you 'more time' but when they do specifically for you to find more documents then you scramble around like a lunatic and keep in contact with them (call at 7am!) till you know they have everything. You have to have your ducks in a row!

 

I was battling to keep calm at the interview, talking through a very impersonal glass/intercom to a rude (no personality, no humor) American interviewer is unnerving. To suddenly find out, just because my name was drawn first at the lottery, they only wanted to speak to me and the rest of my 'support team' had to leave was such a shock. On a lighter note, if I had to do it over again I would take whatever my mother used to give someone who had to be calmed at a funeral!

 

Best of luck

I wonder who you had? Our interviewer was an American too, a guy and fairly congenial. I don't think our interview was even 5 minutes long.

 

I'm surprised you didn't know that indeed it is only the principal applicant who needs to show education etc. in my case they did ask my husband a question or two about what he wanted to do there, but indeed the case is entirely dependent on the actual winner being able to meet all the requirements. Then it is automatically granted (or not) for the rest of the family, unless there is an issue like a criminal record for one of the derivatives.

Edited by SJ27

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Hi SJ27

 

Our interviewer was an African American lady, tall, curly hair that looked like a wig. There's so much to know about this DV process and although I spent months on the internet preparing, I still learnt as I went along. It seems like a distant memory now of course!

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