I am being offered $65K initially and $75K after 6 months in Orlando, FL. Its a startup of 5 months. I will have to move from my country Pakistan to there, if that comes to fruition. I have worked with them since there inception but through another company as a Team Lead. They are seemingly very honest and fair people.

Should I take the risk with such a young company in the USA? What dangers and/or safeguards I may be aware of? Any resources in that regard would be very much appreciated.

  • 4
    You are the only one who can decide what risks you are willing to take. Are they paying for your relocation? Do you have sufficient money to setup a new home when you get here? Even if you are willing to rent a cheap apartment and live out of a suitcase, most places require a upfront payment of first months rent, last months rent, and a damage deposit. Would they be willing to have you work remotely? Good luck.
    – JasonJ
    Jul 13, 2016 at 12:33
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    Also, keep the cost of a plane ticket home in the bank - if they run out of money you don't want to be forced into a visa overstay by not having enough cash to leave. Jul 13, 2016 at 13:05
  • @PatriciaShanahan OP should always have at least that much as an emergency fund and that's doubly important in a foreign country, but I believe the sponsoring company is required to pay for the ticket home if they let him go.
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:18
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    @MelBurslan - for an H1B visa employee, yes the employer is required to provide "reasonable costs of return transportation of the alien to the alien's last place of foreign residence" according to USCIS. Dependents & personal possessions are not covered though, so its just a single one-way ticket.
    – brhans
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:45
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    @brhans I learned a new thing today. I am wondering If I can recoup this money from my old employer, who put me out to dry few weeks short of my labor certification while I was on H1-B :)
    – MelBurslan
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


- This Q & A might be better suited to a different SE - possibly expats or travel
- I'm assuming you'l be on an H1B visa
- I'm trying to highlight some of the things which may be different to what you're used to
- Try to negotiate an employment contract up front
- Make sure your (and your dependents') health insurance is covered
- Don't pay any visa application fees

Having been in a similar situation myself a few years ago, I'll try to give some insight from my personal experience.
I was self-employed in my home country, and acting as an independent contractor for a company in the USA (also in Orlando, FL coincidentally).
Circumstances in that company became such that they decided they needed someone with my skill set full-time & local, but after advertising the job locally they didn't get any suitable applicants - so they offered to sponsor an H1B visa for me to come over & work for them.

As far as I am aware, this is the most likely (perhaps the only) way that this company will be able to employ you in the USA. They will have to make application on your behalf to both the Dept of Labor (DOL) and to Immigration Services (USCIS) and will have to attest that they have tried to find a local employee but have been unable to do so. The amount they're offering you must also be no less than the "going rate" for that kind of job in the area of the country they operate in.
They can try to cheat the system here by classifying your job as being a lower level than it actually is (in my case I discovered near the end of my employment with that company that my job had been classified as "level 1" instead of a more appropriate "level 3"), but this is illegal and is one of the reasons the H1B program is unpopular with many Americans.
The DOL requires that the company give you a copy of the "labor certification" document which gives all of these details (I wasn't, which is why I only discovered some interesting details towards the end of my employment at that company).

I don't know how labor laws work in your country, but they differed substantially in the USA compared to where I came from.
The biggest one for me was that employment here is generally "at will" which basically means that at any time and for any reason, or no reason at all (as long as the reason isn't some kind of legally proscribed unfair discrimination), you can be fired immediately and without notice, warning or compensation.
Similarly, you also have the right to quit your job on the spot (although doing so while on an H1B visa without a backup plan would also make you an illegal alien on the spot ...).
The exception to this would be if you negotiate some sort of employment contract with the company which could spell out details regarding termination of your employment. I'd highly recommend that you do this (I didn't).

Another difference for me was the situation around "normal working hours".
Judging from your the brief description in your question I would guess that your position would be classified as "salaried exempt".
What this means is that the DOL regards your job as being a well-enough paid professional position that your employer can expect you to put in as many hours as are necessary to complete whatever work they see fit to assign to you. There are no legally prescribed working hours. Some employers take this to mean "your a** is mine 24/7/365". If you do negotiate an employment contract, try to work out some arrangement which limits the hours expected from you and/or compensates you appropriately for anything "over and beyond" that which you would consider normal.

Paid vacation time may be a lot less than what you're used to. Where I came from, 4 weeks was considered average.
I started here on 2 weeks and that was considered to be generous.

Living in the USA is great. Everything is convenient and available and many things are inexpensive, but some things may catch you by surprise, depending on the situation in your home country.
One of the biggest surprises for me was the cost of health care & health insurance. "Obamacare" (in my view) doesn't seem to have made any significant impact and in my case made things significantly more expensive since I am now legally required to purchase health insurance for my spouse or pay a fine.
You don't qualify for medicare/medicaid or social security in any way (even though you're paying for those things in deductions from your paycheck).

Mention of my spouse brings up another topic (although you don't mention if you have a 'significant other' who would be accompanying you).
Unless your SO also independently secures their own work visa, they will apply for an H4 visa along with your H1B.
This visa allows them to live with you in the USA as your dependent, but does not allow them to perform any sort of paid work at all. Even working for free in a position which would normally be paid is prohibited. Generally the only thing which would be allowed is something like volunteer work for a charitable organisation (but even here you have to be careful not to overstep the mark). Something as innocuous as helping out with the filing at your workplace is most certainly forbidden.

Be aware that an H1B visa is issued for a 3-year term, and can be extended only once - after that you return back to your home country. However, if your company does choose to have your visa extended then you could ask them during that time to sponsor your application for a permanent residence visa (green card) which would allow you to remain in the USA indefinitely. Your SO would also then be allowed to take up paid employment.
You cannot be made to pay for any of the visa-related fees in any way. This is illegal and should be a big red warning flag that the company is not doing this right.
An H1B application is not a guarantee of a visa. Every year there are far more applications than the limit on visas issued, so be prepared that even if all of the paperwork is in order you won't get it. Your H1B visa is tied to the company which sponsored it for you. You cannot take up employment anywhere else in the USA unless that company also gets DOL approval to employ you.
Your visa is "transferable" in the sense that if you receive an employment offer from another company, and this other company jumps through all of the required hoops to sponsor a visa for you, then you can leave your previous employer to go and work for the new one. You must have all of your 'ducks' lined up & in order to do this though or you risk becoming an illegal alien from an immigration perspective.

So go into this with your eyes wide open (I didn't) and if it looks right for you then do it.


As your commententers noted, the risk part is up to you.

  1. You will need an H1B Visa or other appropriate Visa. These take a long time, has the company already secured this?

  2. Salary seems kinda low, even for Orlando, but might be in line with H1B employment. If this is remote and you are working from Pakistan it might be good, but research what Team Leads make in the area. Are you getting equity? That can go to risk but also often comes in lue of a higher salary.

1 is probably a question for the company and an employment lawyer. Make sure they are not using some loophole that will expire or get you in trouble with immigration. 2 is up to you to research.

  • 140k in 6 months isn't low.
    – user53861
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:09
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    @tuskiomi Those numbers are very likely yearly incomes - i.e. he makes 65k/yr with a guaranteed raise to 75k/yr after 6 months.
    – kat0r
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:20
  • Ah. didn't realize that.
    – user53861
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:21

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