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Is it a wise decision for a married guy to go to US on a H1-B

Rambo Prasad
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 628
Hi Ranchers,

I have got a H1-B through a body shopper..But am really skeptical about going there due to the slowdown happening in US...
The body shopper said he will initially pay me $55,000/year and most probably my place of work would be New Jersey..I did my own bit of research and came out with the below mentioned figures for the cost of living in NJ

1.Rent for a 1-Bedroom apartment - $1000
2.Electricity - $70
3.Internet - $50
4.Cable - $50
5.Phone - $50
6.Food (For 2) - $350
7.Insurance(For wife) - $100
8.Car (EMI per month) - $200
9.Insurance for car - $250
10.Gas for car - $100
11.Other additional expense - $100
Total monthly expenses --around 2300

Is it a realistic estimate of expenses.?Can any expense mentioned above be squeezed further or did I leave out any other expense..?
Probably I think around $100 can be saved in rent if I get a good deal and another $200 can be saved if I make a down payment for car.Anyways the cost of living comes to around $2000.

Now a $55k job would translate to around $3100 after tax and other deductions.Net saving/month would be approximately around 800 - 1000 dollars..So does it make sense to go to US amid all the uncertainty associated with a H1-B..
People say it is very difficult to get a permanent job as a H1-B guy atleast for the initial 1.5 to 2 years(Please correct me if I am wrong)...Why is it so..?Why are employers reluctant to hire H1-B's as permanent employees..?

Since I will be working as a contractor the projects will span typically for a period of 3 months to 1 year and after a project ends I may have to relocate to a different place and then again find a new house and settle down there..So there will be relocation expenses involved.I don't know if my employer would bear 100% of the relocation expenses involved.When a project ends and if I get the next project immediately then I am lucky,else I may have to stay jobless for some time(say 1 week - 1 month)..Is it a realistic analysis or will things be more smoother..

So factoring in all these scenario's does it make sense to go to US...?Apart from financial considerations,looking from a career perspective is there anything to gain by working in US which I cannot get in India...?

Ranchers working in US can they please give their perspective....?
[ March 28, 2008: Message edited by: Rambo Prasad ]

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Arvind Mahendra
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Joined: Jul 14, 2007
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Rambo Check your PM


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Arjun Shastry
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Joined: Mar 13, 2003
Posts: 1874
I will say get interviewed before you take the flight.and ask bodyshopper to assign you to a atleast 6+ months project.Reaching there to work for less than 6 month project and then sitting idle later does not make sense for a married guy(on visa).Next few days ,w'll come to know how much rush is there for H1B.Based on that you can make a decision.IMO,compared to previous year there won't be much rush.
Search on Dice/naukri/monsterindia.com people who are ready to transfer the visa.They might be useful later.


MH
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
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Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30595
    
154

Rambo,
The cost of living in New Jersey varies based on the part of the state you will be living in. For example, the parts near NYC are more expensive and $1K for a one bedroom would be very low.

Two ways you could save money:
1) Consider a studio apartment rather than a one bedroom.
2) See if you need a car. Some cities have good mass transit making the car redundant.

I don't see your own health insurance on the list. Does your employer pay for that?


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Amar Nath Verma
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Joined: Dec 05, 2007
Posts: 23
I would suggest you come alone first, leave your wife in India, stay here for three months so you can settle down, for three months you can stay with bachelors/roomates, so you will be able to save more, after 3-4 months you can get your wife to US.

1. You can buy a used car instead of new ,
2. Car insurance you have estimated is too high, if you have no hisotry here, max it would be $100 a month for used car


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Rambo Prasad
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Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 628
Thanks everybody for all your replies...

I don't see your own health insurance on the list. Does your employer pay for that?


Jeanne,
My employer would bear the insurance expense for me.So that is a small relief...

Car insurance you have estimated is too high, if you have no hisotry here, max it would be $100 a month for used car


Amar,
Browsed through your website..Very informative one..Thanks for the good work...
One of my friend said the car insurance in NJ is high compared to other cities...Anyways if it is around $100 then it is good for me..

When a project completes,can I expect to get another project immediately or do I have to wait some time for the next contract..How long does this usually take..?

Is it easy to take an apartments for rent for a short period of time(say 3 months)..Will I be required to pay a penalty if I were to break the lease agreement and plan to vacate sooner than the agreed upon tenure due to unexpected situation like project getting shelved...?
Vijay Chouhan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2005
Posts: 30
When I was living in NJ back in 2004, the minimum duration for lease was 6 months. I do not remember seeing any apartment where they offered 3 month lease. But there might be some depending on the area you are looking in.
Rambo Prasad
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 628
I have decided to drop the plans of going to US...In the absence of any plausible career advancement or financial gains it doesn't seem to be a great decision to go there at least for now...
Manish Hatwalne
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Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

Originally posted by Rambo Prasad:
I have decided to drop the plans of going to US...In the absence of any plausible career advancement or financial gains it doesn't seem to be a great decision to go there at least for now...


Though I didn't calculate as meticulously as you did, I also realized that savings won't be much if I get around 55K to 60K per annum. However some of my friends are getting well above 90k per annum when they got a chance to apply & join the US company directly - and that gets me thinking again!
[ April 01, 2008: Message edited by: Manish Hatwalne ]
ankur rathi
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Joined: Oct 11, 2004
Posts: 3830
Originally posted by Rambo Prasad:
I have decided to drop the plans of going to US...In the absence of any plausible career advancement or financial gains it doesn't seem to be a great decision to go there at least for now...


Rambo, I don't know how much you are getting paid in India. But seems like money is key factor in your decision, and that's fair enough.

My suggestion is, also look at 1-year-down-the-line-payment instead of what you'll be getting initially. It'll be around 90+ K and increasing every year (on basis of whatever I hear)... so now calculate again.

All the best.
Mav Ricky
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 19, 2004
Posts: 76
HI

if any one's wife is not working and he ahs the intention of saving more money,then coming to US is by far a mistake for them.i have seen my friends whose wife are not working always seem to crib about their financial situation.only come to US if your wife is working ,if she is on H1 or L2 visa.market is going down drastically so it would be better to stay away from this shore for sometime at least.

bbye
Ankur
Pradeep bhatt
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Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

Join some services company go to US on h1-b and then find a job there. Also try in UK


Groovy
Rambo Prasad
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 628
Join some services company go to US on h1-b and then find a job there. Also try in UK


Yes Prad dip I was thinking about that as an option..I had already spent 50k for H1-B..Now if I decide to try for HSMP or Australia I would again need to spend something close to 1-1.5 lakhs...But again I want to be sure if it worth going to UK or Australia(it should be relatively better than US) before paying the money else it will be a repeat of the same H1-B story...

I don't know whether joining a services company and going to US on a H1-B is better than going to US through a consultant..
Ashwin Kumar
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Joined: Apr 07, 2005
Posts: 78
Rambo, In US, Java Developers are paid 50/per hour on average - If you are in NJ it should min 60/ per hour. Try negotiating with your employer, he is giving you contractor job so it should 80/20 percentage basis. Don't work on salary if you are contractor.

Here is my calculation - 50/per hour on 80/20 - You will get 40/ per hour.

40 * 2000 = 80,000 k per anuum.

Just think 25,000 diffrence.....


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Arundhati Roy
Greenhorn

Joined: May 24, 2007
Posts: 25
Try negotiating with your employer, he is giving you contractor job so it should 80/20 percentage basis. Don't work on salary if you are contractor.


This is exactly what you have to do....

Get a job from India over here and then only come.... Otherwise it will be very difficult.... I can't say much about your employer.

Some employers hire on permanent salary and then take adv out of it.

If they are giving you 55k --- then you get around 30USD/hr but they will bill the client around 80-90 USD/hr.......

And if you are a experienced Java developer then it goes even higher.

You loose ........ they just take adv of lack of knowledge.......

And do not sign any kind of contract with your employer... that you have to work for them these no. of years....

Just 3 payslips you need to transfer your VISA...

The best thing to do is at first tell your employer to get you a job from India in any part of USA......

Get a family Insurance.... do not go in all these tricks as employer is paying for me n all....

About your wife if she is coming with you on H4 then its difficult.... she would not be able to work even if she wants to........ EAD is another option...... I do not have much knowledge regarding this but check this out....

Thanks
Arundhati
dhwani mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 08, 2007
Posts: 621
hi Arundhati Roy


i just wanted to know what are your suggestions on
below..................

if a person is single and is willing to go to US
at 55k.........through a garanteed consultant (whom we can rely for sure.)

is it worth going?
if yes then why

and if no then why?


any more advice and suggestions will be most welcome.


Dhwani:>Winning is not important but it is the only thing.
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11465
    
  94

Just looking at costs, there are 2 places I see where you can reduce your spending:
  • Internet + Cable + Phone ($150).


  • Most service providers have package deals. For example Comcast is currently offering a bundle of all 3 for $33 per month in Seattle if you sign up for a 1 year agreement. The other providers make similar deals. Although the contracts usually state that you will go onto some higher package at the end of the year, in most cases you can renegotiate the same deal at the end of the year (it is amazing how willing they are to take your $33 a month when the alternative is for you to go to a different provider and they then get nothing. )

    You might also want to consider whether you really need all 3 services. Will VOIP (e.g. Skype) work instead of a dedicated phone line? Are you better off with Amazon or NetFlix or BlockBuster instead of getting Cable?

  • Car + Insurance + Gas ($550)


  • Wow.

    Do you really need a car? Can public transportation / bicycle / walking get you to the majority of locations you need to go?

    Have you considered ZipCar for the times you do need a car? $25 to join and $50 per year. Then you just rent the car for the time you need. Depending on the car you decide you want, 1 hour is as little as $10.50 and 1 day can be $73. All gas is paid for by ZipCar. All insurance is paid for by ZipCar.

    Looking in the New York area, I see too many cars to count. Dropping down to Hoboken, New Jersey I see 25 cars available spread across the region. And that is just Hoboken - there are more cars in Jersey City and Princeton, not to mention all the other cities and neighborhoods in NYC.

    (You might be able to tell that I am a fan of ZipCar. )
    Good luck with your choices.

    Andrew


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    Rambo Prasad
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Feb 23, 2006
    Posts: 628
    Thanks everyone for your ideas..
    Shonak
    I will try negotiating for a 80-20 percentage basis..I have only close to 3 years of experience so I don't know whether the consultant would agree for this.But anyways I will try..

    Andrew,
    Comcast and Zipcar looks like good options...I think I can save a little more than my estimate..Thanks for the info
    NJ Joshi
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 82
    Hi Rambo Prasad,
    I have few tips you can consider:
    1. Out of US, without exp. in US market, you can not really make sure you are going to get what is offered in offerletter.If this is first job and you can not maintain @ 20,000 USD as emergency fund do not consider any 80/20 kinda offer. No gaurantee you will get paid on time, 101 reasons you will get from your employeer.
    Best thing go for a reputed consulting company and make sure they should be able to place you.
    2.$ 55000 in NJ is little on tight side in NJ. You need car in NJ, as you dont know where you are going to work, even if your project is in NYC you need car to drive up to station and in winter during snowfall you need car.Rentals are costly and you will end up in paying much more
    3.Expenses you can manage in $55000:
    1.rent 900-1000 one bedroom apt good for couple.
    2.Heat generally incuded in rent(look for such apt) and electricity comes $30 -40.
    3.Food $300-400 if you cook at home.
    4.Initally you need cloths and stuff (jackets/shoes etc)as per local weather and you will be paying security for each service because you will be without credit history.
    5.Ask your company for medical insurance for both of you and if they can't provide its not worth to join.
    On an average in NJ/NY savings are 20,000 year on span of 5 years so if you have long term plans and assuming progressive growth in your salary.You can estimate savings.
    Also consider India- US trips ( $2500) every year for couple.Auto \transportation cost and last but most important you need to learn driving and take license+ insurance. You can buy a used car don't go for too cheap but in range like 6-8000 you can get a good car. S0 for first year your savings will be @ 10000 if you work for whole year and your desi employeer deal honestly with you.
    Best of luck

    [ April 08, 2008: Message edited by: NJ Joshi ]
    [ April 08, 2008: Message edited by: NJ Joshi ]
    Nicholas Jordan
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    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 1282
    Prasad, your numbers look low to me. I am a native, those numbers happen sometimes but such is usually only if you have familial relatives already here who can do the scoping for you ahead of time and already have such things as low-rent working. In general, I do not consider it advisable to cross over on the idea that you are going to find a major portion of your specs. I lived in a very low-cost situation in Austin for awhile. We had a graduate student from China who was here attending University of Texas Civil Engineering to complete doctoral level work. He got two job offers. A friend and I advised him on selection.

    Apartments used to be way lower, now they are often what you cite or above. Electric will be skyrocketing soon because of the fuel jumping in price. The internet price you cite can be obtained without undue effort, but I would suggest thinking about wide-band / lower-rate decision and what you actually need. I have an economy package and it costs me something like $35. I also have a commercial server hired that is Tier-1. The tier one server is unbelievably cheap compared to my uplink. A wide range of internet pricing is dependent on what you need and how much work you have the resources to do. If you are expecting cable, then you are sorta out of my league. I just rent some tapes or buy some cd's. Entertainment grade cd's are widely avaliable and cheap. Two people could live on 350 for food, but you would have to do meal planning and buy everything you eat. Possible, but takes some acclimatization for anyone changing to another culture ( any culture ) so this is something that needs some backup planning for about six months or so.

    Gas all depends on fuel economy of vehicle and how far away your work is. If you cannot get at least $55,000 ( or somewhere in that bracket ) I would adivse the move to be overly risky. The foreign nationals and students from abroad that make it here either have famalial resources already here to rely on or pull down hefty salaries. Your agency will not be of much use if you get overextended. An extremely well worded contract is of no use if things go bad.
    [ April 08, 2008: Message edited by: Nicholas Jordan ]

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    Pradeep bhatt
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    What would be a good salary to live in US. 90k USD for any location ?
    Arjun Shastry
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    Joined: Mar 13, 2003
    Posts: 1874
    I think above 75K at any location should be sufficient unless you drive 300 miles/week or live on high calory food.You won't find anybody in the world admitting that they are getting enough salary.Wherever you are,you always think that part of world is bad and other side green.
    arulk pillai
    Author
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    So factoring in all these scenario's does it make sense to go to US...?Apart from financial considerations,looking from a career perspective is there anything to gain by working in US which I cannot get in India...?


    You may have to consider non-monetary benefits as well. Even if you break even in monetary terms, you consider the following:

    -- How well your overseas experience will be received by the prospective employers in India when you get back after 1-2 years. My initial guess would say that it will be considered very valuable?

    -- You can impress your overseas employer for a potential pay rise after proving your ability in first 6 - 12 months.

    -- It can expand your horizons and give you a different perspective?

    -- It can be useful to understand cultural differences and gain more soft skills.

    -- It can be a paid holiday for you?


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    Nicholas Jordan
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 1282
    Yep, 75-90k to really cover unanticipated. I am fixing to make big bucks but have lived the low-life ( I mean low income ) all of my life. Due to recent changes in the economic climate seventy five to ninety thousand is what I - already living here and fully cognizant of all the details of the culture - would expect to be a rate at which I could focus on such things as family or whatever your personal goals may be. Even for just wanting to live a stable, down-home life such a seemingly high number is actually realistic.

    For what you may gain here that cannot be gained in India, I think that is something which has a lot of personal goals and energies as it's basis. I do not see where todays world holds US as any exceptional place. Those days are largely over. If you have the resources to do it, I would suggest a two-week vactation here away from any entertainment epicenter. There are combination apartment / hotels that cater to this customer. Those provide good positioning to make the numbers you have either realistic or in need of adjustment.

    I cannot expect that a family would not be supporting of this investment due to the depth to which it affects them.
     
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