I have been on phone interviews with a major tech company - an offer would be a significant improvement, both in opportunity for self-improvement, to make a difference, as well as in monetary compensation.

Meanwhile, there are prospective projects at my current workplace that would have to be shelved or delayed should I get this offer and, as planned, take it up.

It's basically similar to the situation in this question, with an added twist -- to visit the branch where I will be based I would need a visa, and this section of the requirements in particular involves employment verification:

If you are employed, evidence of your employment. This is usually a statement on company letterhead from your employer stating your job role, length of employment, salary, and the period of approved leave. If your employer is financially supporting your visit, this should also be mentioned on the reference letter. If you are self-employed, you need to provide evidence of your business ownership (such as the business registration or shareholder’s certificate).

I have been in my current job for less than a year, which in my country means I'm not eligible for paid leave yet. I could borrow time off my leave allotment for next year, but between needing to borrow and needing a reference letter, presumably it would be hard to get away without disclosing the purpose of my visit. (note -- I got headhunted for this - unless something is seriously wrong I tend to not hunt for alternative employments until I have been in a job for a year or so).

I'm inclined to just tell my current employer about the prospective offer -- honesty being the best policy, and if the worst happens, the job offer doesn't materialize and I get sidelined at my current job, presumably that's a sign that I shouldn't be staying too long at this job anyway. but I'm really interested in what people would do in this situation.

  • Will a paycheque suffice as "evidence of employment"? – Nix Aug 28 '14 at 6:07
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    Do your tax forms mention the name of your company? If so, you produce last year's tax form plus your current paycheck. If you can't produce last year's tax form because yo haven't ben employed that long, a bank statement showing your employer's first check to you. If that's not sufficient evidence of length of employment, the your prospective employer is seriously pointy headed. However, I just though of a possibly better approach: – Vietnhi Phuvan Aug 28 '14 at 10:09
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    Ask for two letters - asking for one letter might raise suspicion because of its contents: 1. You could probably ask for a letter from HR specifying your employment details, if it's usual practice for your prospective landlords to ask for this letter - hey, they want to make sure that you are a stable tenant and they want to make sure that they get paid; 2. The letter from HR sanctioning your going on leave should be a separate issue from the letter providing evidence of length of employment and that you are currently employed. – Vietnhi Phuvan Aug 28 '14 at 10:09
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    Also, another option is (if elegible) ask for a tourist visa. As long as you are not doing actual work (an interview should not count, since you are not getting paid). Again, ask to your interviewer HR department. – SJuan76 Aug 28 '14 at 12:27
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    @michel-slm So the main reason Australia is asking you this is because they want to know that you are stable in your position in Indonesia and won't overstay illegally. If your company asks you why you need a letter, I think the distance is sufficiently close to say you are going to visit a few friends. (Not really a lie either!) – CaptainCodeman Aug 29 '14 at 16:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ask for two letters - asking for one letter might raise immediate suspicion because of its contents:

  1. Ask for a letter from HR specifying your employment details, if it's usual practice for prospective landlords to ask for this letter - hey, they want to make sure that you are a stable tenant and they want to make sure that they get paid;

  2. The letter from HR sanctioning your going on leave should be a separate issue from the letter providing evidence of length of employment and that you are currently employed.

You are probably better off not asking for the two letters in the same communication.

  • I ended up doing something similar to your suggestion - I informed the company owner I need to take time off, and then told HR I need a supporting letter for the visa application. Due to the specific requirements the embassy give I think I'll just use one letter though, now that the leave is approved at the top level anyway. The letter might look less legit if it's not addressed to a specific organization after all – michel-slm Aug 29 '14 at 3:25

Getting your Visa

Typically when pursuing a job requiring a Visa the company that will require the Visa sponsors it NOT your current employer. A business Visa is entirely to say, "I'm allowed here because I work for ... and they are based here"

Let your prospective employer know you need a Visa

You need to ask what your potential employer's process is for setting up Visas. Typically they handle the lion's share of the work and just need you to fill out some paperwork to make sure everything is on the up and up.

What if I need to get the Visa myself

Sometimes this does happen, typically these jobs post that you need a Visa to apply, and typically you would have been disqualified from consideration by now for not having it. So I doubt this is the case. If it is though your best bet is to ask for proof of employment. (There are tons of legitimate reasons for asking for this so HR shouldn't be bothered, if they ask you can choose whether or not to disclose it's for a Visa)

Tapping into leave time you don't have yet

Depending on where you are located this may or may not be a big deal. I would simply accept you do not have Paid Time Off, so this is coming out of your pocket. (Let's say you do get to advance the PTO, you'll be burning a bridge if in good faith I gave it to you then you turned in your notice.)

If you financially can't afford to take the time off unpaid you'll have to figure out something to make ends meet... Again asking your employer to advance PTO or pay so you can quit will no go over well.

  • Thanks. The question is not for the work visa itself - it's for a visitor visa to attend the interview. As such the current employer need to verify my employment status and that my leave is approved and I'll be returning to my job afterwards It's quite common here to get an advance on PTO, so offering to take unpaid leave would actually signal I'll be leaving - so since it works out the same I might as well settle the advanced PTO when I have a definite offer. I definitely agree that if unpaid time off is the norm then asking for an advance with the intention of leaving is rather unethical! – michel-slm Aug 29 '14 at 3:21
  • well then I would just ask for proof of employment and that you need a PTO advance (knowing you're probably burning a bridge if this works out for you, but hey sometimes bridges must be burned) I'd probably say I need to travel to X for a personal reason and keep it at that. That said, you are asking quite a bit of an employer that you're still new to. The more complex this gets, the more risk you're incurring. That said you have to decide how much risk you're willing to incur. – RualStorge Sep 3 '14 at 18:34

Tell your HR department that you need confirmation of your employment in order to apply for a visa to whatever country you're going. They probably won't ask you why you need to go there.

Don't be too worried about your company suspecting your intentions. Even if they suspect that you might be considering moving to another company, they can't really take any action against you for it. In some cases, it can be beneficial as they'll try to "win you back". I once took an unexplained leave for a few days and when I came back they gave me a raise.

However, it's probably not a good idea at this point to just tell them directly that you're thinking about leaving. They really don't need to know. Honesty is good, but self-sabotage is not.

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