Topic ID #24171 - posted 10/23/2012 10:00 PM

Working Visas?


I'm a mexican archaeologist with a lot of field experience and a masters degree from a US institution. I am wondering about the possibilities of getting sponsorship and/or any help in getting a working permit for doing archaeology in the USA or Canada?
Is it difficult to get a position as a foreigner?
I would appreciate any insight on the issue since my future depends on this
thank you

Post ID#19833 - replied 10/25/2012 12:06 AM


Canada I believe had work visa programs if you are a student and want to spend a semester abroad working. Not positive on just a normal work visa program. Australia on the other hand does have a work visa program if you are under the age of 31. Do that, you can do archaeology and get paid a ton more money than the US (the Aussie dollar is just within a few cents of the American dollar). I think starting pay for field archs is around 45k, easy to work your way up to 60k+ if you are willing to work a couple weeks at a time camping in the outback, or so I read a couple weeks ago anway. Work visas are for 6mos apiece and you can do two back to back (which would be your max limit on the work visa). Afterwards if you are good you can get a sponsored job since it won't cost a company much if any to bring you over if you are transitioning from the work visa program. I've never heard of a US company sponsoring foreigners for arch jobs, since we are some of the lowest paid educated professionals in the country. High school kids at the local Starbucks around here are starting out at $17/hour, and I know a 19yo kid who is making $23/hr as an assistant manager there. It took me years to make lower level Starbucks barrista wages as an archaeologist with a B.A. If you are pulling down $23/hr with a masters in archaeology consider yourself lucky, in the U.S. that is. Something to think about. Go to Australia, I know a dude that went there and said Kangaroo tail steaks are amazing. 

Post ID#19836 - replied 10/26/2012 7:55 AM


When I was supported to come over to the US from the UK, the immigration lawyer that was handling the H1B visa indicated that, to his knowledge, I was the only such individual to make such a transition (it's fairly standard in academia and non-archaeology positions, of course).  All said and done, the expedited process cost somewhere in the realm of $5,000-7,000 including filing fees, legal expenses etc. so one can see why it's not generally done.  

Post ID#19837 - replied 10/26/2012 10:48 AM


Canadians and Mexicans can work in the US under the Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement.  Once you secure work, have your employer write you a letter to take to the border or customs officials at the airport.  TN visas can be obtained for either one year or three years and cost $50 for each year.   The only catch is that archaeology is not one of the listed professions supported by the TN visa.  You can get around this by applying for a related discipline such as Geologist or Scientific Technician (once I was even listed as a soil scientist).

I held a TN Visa for 6 years, then convinced my company to sponser my H1B visa.  Sixteen years later I finally got my green card!  I know many Canadians who work in CRM who have successfully obtaind a TN Visa to work in the US, but not many from Mexico.  A good website for more information is


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