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Immigrant Workers

Reader Luciana writes:

I’m writing to you from the other side of the world, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Nowadays mostly known as the country of the new Pope.)

As an experienced media producer, I’m  considering the possibility of going to the US and trying to get a job in the TV/film industry over there, since in my country, the job offerings in the industry are almost non-existent.

So, I wanna ask you two things: first of all, if there is any chance a company would hire a foreign professional… I mean, have you met coworkers from another countries or are they all Americans?

And secondly…do all the jobs involve work permits/legal papers? I mean, is there freelance work who doesn’t require it or something like that? Since getting papers from Argentina is definitely impossible (because you require a job offer, which obviously you are not gonna get from here if no one knows you in the US right?).

You’re in a tough spot. TV industry or otherwise, no one is allowed to work in the United States without the proper permits and visas. It’s not the employers who demand it; it’s the government.

I have worked with foreigners on several shows, but they were almost always department heads. They built their careers outside of America, and were then brought here because their skills were unique and in-demand. As a producer, you might be able to follow this route, although I don’t know how you’d go about looking for work like that.

For most of my readers, who are PAs or otherwise low on the totem pole, there’s a -0% chance you’ll secure a job before coming to America. I’ve already said they’re not going to hire a PA from out-of-state, when there’s thousands of perfectly good PAs right here in Los Angeles. Adding visa complications just makes you an even bigger headache.

The few non-department head foreigners I’ve met all got their visas through other means, either coming here as students and getting a job while still in school, or by marriage.

I recommend OK Cupid.

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2 Responses

  1. Again, just adding my two cents from the East coast world. I’ve worked with PAs from Iceland and Kazakstan recently. There’s been a few features shooting in Iceland this year so the PAs had a chance to make contacts and come back over after their shows wrapped. The girl I knew from Kazakstan just made a leap of faith and it worked out for her. I guess that’s all this industry really is, taking chances.

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