... and how Kiwis can fly away

Darren Greenwood looks at the options for IT professionals planning on immigrating.

For IT Kiwis wanting to fly away, the process is similar to those immigrating.

Marianna Romanoff of recruitment firm ITech Solutions in New York says many US agencies are recruiting overseas after their government sanctioned the issuing of 319,000 H-1 visas to enter the country as IT consultants.

Know your market worth

But first, Romanoff says, it's important to know what varieties of IT consultant are in demand.

With CVs, she says just saying you know a couple of program languages is not enough and experience must be proved to be fairly deep.

Website designers and Java developers should have three to four years' experience in Java and a variety of other languages, skills and experience. Device driver developers need four years' experience, again in a variety of languages, and Visual Basic staff need at least four years of experience. NT administrators need six years' experience of Microsoft and Novell networking products, she says, while ITech's Cold Fusion vacancies demand over five years' experience in software design and development.

Newcomers, she says, will be accepted in the midwest and anywhere outside New York - "which is very demanding".

Job interviews will only be done once a resume has been approved by ITech. These can be done over the phone; if there are five to 10 good resumes in an area, a human resources person will fly over and conduct a face-to-face interview. This is only done after a one- to two-hour telephone interview.

'We want you, we'll sort it'

Once an IT candidate has been selected, the employer starts the immigration process with lawyers in both continents. It takes four weeks to two months for the US government to sanction a H1 visa and, once approved, arrangements can be made to start working for a minimum of two years with the company that holds the visa.

"If after six months to one year the consultant finds that a company would like to hire him/her permanently, they take over the H-1 visa or sponsor the candidate for a Green Card - depending on the demands for the skills of that person," she says.

Romanoff says three New Zealanders sent their CVs to her after Computerworld wrote about ITech last month. Two were entry-level, she says, though one has "some potential". She can be emailed at vsarkar@aol.com.

No worries mate, we're British

Webnet Recruitment in Britain says it wants people with at least two years' commercial experience in Java, Cold Fusion, Perl and ASP. Applicants should be able to provide two references that can vouch for their commercial experience and they must not have a criminal record of any kind.

Webnet (www.webnetrecruitment.com) has a special visa programme that it operates with London-based immigration consultants Global Visas (www.globalvisas.com). Prospective applicants can peruse jobs on its website but the first step is to email CVs to jobs@webnet-visa.com. The company will then send you a questionnaire.

"Once this has been returned," says a spokesman, "and we have established that we should be able to obtain a visa for you - a visa is not guaranteed at this stage - we will approach our client companies with your details and arrange telephone interviews as appropriate." Once the company has located a suitable employer it works with Global Visas to arrange a visa and assist the candidate.

Webnet says UK immigration rules are complex and visas are issued subject to the discretion of immigration officers. However, its consultants can assess candidates online free of charge and promise feedback within 48 hours. The company adds that firms are liable for prosecution if they employer foreigners and don't have the correct work permits.

Strategic alliance

London-based recruitment consultant Martin Ward Anderson has a "strategic alliance" with OCG of Auckland (formerly Opal Executive Recruitment), staging recruitment fairs and seminars in New Zealand. Seminars in Auckland recently attracted over 100 attendees, mainly IT professionals, and the firm can help with the job-hunting and immigration process. MWA also works with OCG on people looking to return home to New Zealand.

MWA's website, www.martinwardanderson.com, lists a range of jobs and salary scales. Its international resourcing division, headed by Christian Dally, offers advice on visas, the cost of living and setting up bank accounts, with a full guide on "Living & Working in the UK" available by email. Dally can be emailed directly at c.dally@martinwardanderson.com.

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