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SDE Job Offer for Amazon Seattle - don't meet TN Visa Requirements - Transfer UW credits towards any diploma?

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Nov 19, 2014
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gbershad wrote:
Aug 17th, 2017 6:14 pm
Thank you!

Luck's certainly a much larger part of the equation than I would like and I need as much of it as I can get.
Have you tried running your plan by your own immigration lawyer?

The Amazon immigration lawyers work for Amazon, not you. They have Amazon's interest in mind, not yours. You might want to run your plan by your own lawyer (an American immigration lawyer, with a U.S. JD).
I'm At The W, But I Can't Meet You In The Lobby, Girl I Gotta Watch My Back, Cuz I'm Not Just Anybody, I Seen Em' Stand In Line, Just To Get Beside Her, That's When We Disappear, You Need GPS To Find Her, Oh That Was Your Girl? I Thought I Recognized Her."
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Corner3 wrote:
Aug 17th, 2017 6:21 pm
Have you tried running your plan by your own immigration lawyer?

The Amazon immigration lawyers work for Amazon, not you. They have Amazon's interest in mind, not yours. You might want to run your plan by your own lawyer (an American immigration lawyer, with a U.S. JD).
That's what I did... Got my own lawyer and had him put together my immigration "package". This was back in 1999, and it cost under $1000.

C
[OP]
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Oct 26, 2013
22 posts
Toronto
Corner3 wrote:
Aug 17th, 2017 6:21 pm
Have you tried running your plan by your own immigration lawyer?

The Amazon immigration lawyers work for Amazon, not you. They have Amazon's interest in mind, not yours. You might want to run your plan by your own lawyer (an American immigration lawyer, with a U.S. JD).
CNeufeld wrote:
Aug 17th, 2017 6:45 pm
That's what I did... Got my own lawyer and had him put together my immigration "package". This was back in 1999, and it cost under $1000.

C
I've certainly considered consulting an independent legal opinion, but either way, I'm still short a diploma, so that much is obvious. As it stands right now, I'm waiting to hear an education evaluator's opinion on those two Thompson Rivers University programs. This is someone who is with the immigration law firm Amazon uses, but I don't see any conflict of interest there.

Either way, I just learned from the TRU advisor the IT & Management diploma is unrealistic with my timeline and I believe as far as the TN Visa petition, I'm locked down to use Amazon's firm because it involves a support letter and other steps between Amazon and the firm that are hidden from me. I already have a case open, filled out an online application, and see an organized trajectory of my TN process, as well as the steps I've completed on the dashboard. Really don't think it's in my power to recommend a different avenue. As an independent informational source, sure, it makes sense, but I don't really need that right now.
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Aug 16, 2017
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The law firms always like to act like big shots. In the case of a TN, nothing more than a letter of support is required, but the law firm will add a whole lotta gibberish to bill Amazon. Also, there is no such thing as appeasing the law firm. Their sole job is to make a case for you and by that fulfill their obligation to Amazon. Whether you choose a diploma mill college or Thompson Rivers, it is their job to make your case. You don't need their approval. Yes, they can say that you need a diploma, but they cannot disqualify your diploma based on where you got it from. They aren't doing it based on any factual data. They are just winging it like you and I would.

Optimistically, you finish your diploma and start at your position. Realistically, you should be looking to push for a position in Canada and then move to the US once you finish your diploma. Worst case scenario is that you are unable to take up the offer. In that case, you have the contact info of the hiring manager and the recruiter that you can use to pursue other opportunities. Considering you cleared the various rounds of interviews for this position, I am positive other opportunities will come your way. For now, I'd take the realistic approach. Good luck!
[OP]
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Oct 26, 2013
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MapleColouredRaptor wrote:
Aug 17th, 2017 11:56 pm
The law firms always like to act like big shots. In the case of a TN, nothing more than a letter of support is required, but the law firm will add a whole lotta gibberish to bill Amazon. Also, there is no such thing as appeasing the law firm. Their sole job is to make a case for you and by that fulfill their obligation to Amazon. Whether you choose a diploma mill college or Thompson Rivers, it is their job to make your case. You don't need their approval. Yes, they can say that you need a diploma, but they cannot disqualify your diploma based on where you got it from. They aren't doing it based on any factual data. They are just winging it like you and I would.

Optimistically, you finish your diploma and start at your position. Realistically, you should be looking to push for a position in Canada and then move to the US once you finish your diploma. Worst case scenario is that you are unable to take up the offer. In that case, you have the contact info of the hiring manager and the recruiter that you can use to pursue other opportunities. Considering you cleared the various rounds of interviews for this position, I am positive other opportunities will come your way. For now, I'd take the realistic approach. Good luck!
Thank you for the kind thought and useful information.

What you said about the law firm's role is different from what I've been assuming until now.

If you don't mind, could I please get your opinion on the following?

  1. The law firm said that the crucial transcript for them is the one tied to the diploma, but you said earlier the patrol officer would want to see my UW one as well. I was hoping that'd be the case because I figured the recognizable name and program (UW Computer Science) would carry some weight and would act as a positive counterbalance to the fact the diploma is for an online program (a negative) - e.g. something like "yeah the diploma is for an online program, but he only did 1 semester of courses there + he has 2.5 years at a physical institution before that and 2 of those are UW CS etc..." However, due the firm's comment it didn't seem the UW transcript was relevant anymore. You seem to hold the opposite opinion. Do you have any further statement?
  2. I mentioned earlier in the thread a "diploma mill" online program (https://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and ... ate-degree), which until your comment, I considered a dead lead, but when considering it last, I thought it would've easily fit the bill. It's far less expensive than Thompson Rivers and a bird course. However, when I called Penn Foster and explained my situation, the admissions operator said she hasn't heard of anyone leveraging their Associate's Degree in Computer Information Systems towards a Visa application and offered that she thought online programs are a no-go. She admitted not knowing much on the matter, but she did offer that opinion. When I ran the program by the lawyer, she just stated the publicly available NAFTA guideline for the Computer Systems Analyst category, which didn't offer me much peace of mind and I stopped considering it partly because of the reputation issue, but also because Penn Foster is a "nationally accredited" institution, not "regionally" (I learned "regional" is significantly better). I wasn't able to get an opinion from the law firm on whether this distinction matters for their purposes, either (NAFTA regulation is vague: only "accredited" is mentioned and must be Canadian or American). It seems like you're suggesting there's not much difference for the legal side and border patrol between Penn Foster and Thompson Rivers. Is that accurate?

Thanks again.
Last edited by gbershad on Aug 18th, 2017 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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CNeufeld wrote:
Aug 17th, 2017 6:04 pm
What a gong show... I still have nightmares about trying to sneak across the border on a TN visa with my 6 month old Computer Systems Technology diploma. I worked with a local lawyer to craft my resume and documentation to make my experience seem more relevant, but standing in line at the Immigration desk of the airport was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I can remember. Especially it took my college instructor (who got me the job in the US) 3 tries to get across the border...

Good luck!

C
Sorry CNeufeld, you mentioned "... with my 6 month old Computer Systems Technology diploma...". That sounds like you were trying to get across the border 6 months after receiving the diploma, but I don't understand the significance of including "6 months", so I'm half-assuming you meant the diploma itself was for a 6-month program, which would defy the TN Visa rule for the Computer Systems Analyst job category (bachelor's degree or 2 year diploma/certificate with 3 years of experience). Could you please clarify?
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gbershad wrote:
Aug 18th, 2017 10:22 am
Sorry CNeufeld, you mentioned "... with my 6 month old Computer Systems Technology diploma...". That sounds like you were trying to get across the border 6 months after receiving the diploma, but I don't understand the significance of including "6 months", so I'm half-assuming you meant the diploma itself was for a 6-month program, which would defy the TN Visa rule for the Computer Systems Analyst job category (bachelor's degree or 2 year diploma/certificate with 3 years of experience). Could you please clarify?
I had just finished a 2 year diploma program in May. Around September of that same year, one of my instructors gave me a call and asked me if I wanted a job down in Florida, and I said "Hell ya!". :) So by October, I was in the airport trying to get my TN visa. So let's just say I had to be very creative in word-smithing my previous life experience to make up 3 years of Systems Analyst experience.

I had the opposite issue as you... I had a diploma but not much experience. You have experience, but no diploma. Much easier to be creative on experience, unfortunately for you.

C
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Oct 26, 2013
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CNeufeld wrote:
Aug 18th, 2017 11:06 am
I had just finished a 2 year diploma program in May. Around September of that same year, one of my instructors gave me a call and asked me if I wanted a job down in Florida, and I said "Hell ya!". :) So by October, I was in the airport trying to get my TN visa. So let's just say I had to be very creative in word-smithing my previous life experience to make up 3 years of Systems Analyst experience.

I had the opposite issue as you... I had a diploma but not much experience. You have experience, but no diploma. Much easier to be creative on experience, unfortunately for you.

C
Got it.
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Aug 16, 2017
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gbershad wrote:
Aug 18th, 2017 10:15 am
Thank you for the kind thought and useful information.

What you said about the law firm's role is different from what I've been assuming until now.

If you don't mind, could I please get your opinion on the following?

  1. The law firm said that the crucial transcript for them is the one tied to the diploma, but you said earlier the patrol officer would want to see my UW one as well. I was hoping that'd be the case because I figured the recognizable name and program (UW Computer Science) would carry some weight and would act as a positive counterbalance to the fact the diploma is for an online program (a negative) - e.g. something like "yeah the diploma is for an online program, but he only did 1 semester of courses there + he has 2.5 years at a physical institution before that and 2 of those are UW CS etc..." However, due the firm's comment it didn't seem the UW transcript was relevant anymore. You seem to hold the opposite opinion. Do you have any further statement?
  2. I mentioned earlier in the thread a "diploma mill" online program (https://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and ... ate-degree), which until your comment, I considered a dead lead, but when considering it last, I thought it would've easily fit the bill. It's far less expensive than Thompson Rivers and a bird course. However, when I called Penn Foster and explained my situation, the admissions operator said she hasn't heard of anyone leveraging their Associate's Degree in Computer Information Systems towards a Visa application and offered that she thought online programs are a no-go. She admitted not knowing much on the matter, but she did offer that opinion. When I ran the program by the lawyer, she just stated the publicly available NAFTA guideline for the Computer Systems Analyst category, which didn't offer me much peace of mind and I stopped considering it partly because of the reputation issue, but also because Penn Foster is a "nationally accredited" institution, not "regionally" (I learned "regional" is significantly better). I wasn't able to get an opinion from the law firm on whether this distinction matters for their purposes, either (NAFTA regulation is vague: only "accredited" is mentioned and must be Canadian or American). It seems like you're suggesting there's not much difference for the legal side and border patrol between Penn Foster and Thompson Rivers. Is that accurate?

Thanks again.
1. The law firm is right about the fact that the transcript tied to the diploma is the crucial one. I stand corrected about mentioning that the officer would want to see both transcripts. You could show the officer your UW transcript if he feels the diploma one is insufficient, which is unlikely. Still, keep a copy with you when you go to the border.

I wanted to add that your college transcript will not be incomplete. The courses that you didn't complete due to transfer credits will also be mentioned on your transcript. Yes, it will be mentioned that you achieved the credits for the course due to a transfer, but all of the courses part of the program will be mentioned. So that should count for something and your diploma transcript will not be incomplete as you think. The diploma is the main deal here.. As long as it has some tech in it you will be in the clear. Transcript is pretty much a supporting document

2. Yes, from an immigration standpoint, there isn't much difference between Penn Foster and Thompson Rivers
[OP]
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Oct 26, 2013
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MapleColouredRaptor wrote:
Aug 18th, 2017 11:33 am
1. The law firm is right about the fact that the transcript tied to the diploma is the crucial one. I stand corrected about mentioning that the officer would want to see both transcripts. You could show the officer your UW transcript if he feels the diploma one is insufficient, which is unlikely. Still, keep a copy with you when you go to the border.

I wanted to add that your college transcript will not be incomplete. The courses that you didn't complete due to transfer credits will also be mentioned on your transcript. Yes, it will be mentioned that you achieved the credits for the course due to a transfer, but all of the courses part of the program will be mentioned. So that should count for something and your diploma transcript will not be incomplete as you think. The diploma is the main deal here.. As long as it has some tech in it you will be in the clear. Transcript is pretty much a supporting document

2. Yes, from an immigration standpoint, there isn't much difference between Penn Foster and Thompson Rivers
Thanks, MapleColouredRaptor.

Yeah, I knew about the transfer credits in the transcript.

Thanks for #2 - that gives me some reassurance.

Since you seem like you know what you're talking about, I'd appreciate if you can weigh in on this one:

2 year Diploma in General Studies from Thompson Rivers (online), but with my 5 UW computing courses transferring to commensurate courses at TRU + whatever 3 courses I may choose to take to complete the diploma (would do CS probably, to up my chances)

vs.

2 year Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems from Penn Foster (online as well)

Any thought on which is the safer option?

#1 is more legit but doesn't have IT or computing mentioned in the name - the transcript will show it though...
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Aug 16, 2017
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It is imperative to have tech/IT/Software on the degree/diploma. As I mentioned earlier, the transcript is pretty much a supporting document. If the immigration officer is happy looking at the degree/diploma he/she might or might not take a detailed look at the transcript. If the officer is not happy with the diploma he/she might take a more detailed look at the transcript, but he/she might have already made a decision before that, if you know what I mean. They have guidelines to follow and they do their best to adhere to that. So again, legit or not make sure you have tech/it/software as a part of the program name that will be printed on the diploma. Will a specialization be mentioned along with 'General studies'? If not, I would give it a pass. For example, engineering grads have a hard time getting a TN for software jobs if they don't graduate with a computer or software engineering degree. This is despite them doing a lot of programming courses as a part of their programs and doing software internships.
[OP]
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Oct 26, 2013
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MapleColouredRaptor wrote:
Aug 18th, 2017 12:33 pm
It is imperative to have tech/IT/Software on the degree/diploma. As I mentioned earlier, the transcript is pretty much a supporting document. If the immigration officer is happy looking at the degree/diploma he/she might or might not take a detailed look at the transcript. If the officer is not happy with the diploma he/she might take a more detailed look at the transcript, but he/she might have already made a decision before that, if you know what I mean. They have guidelines to follow and they do their best to adhere to that. So again, legit or not make sure you have tech/it/software as a part of the program name that will be printed on the diploma. Will a specialization be mentioned along with 'General studies'? If not, I would give it a pass. For example, engineering grads have a hard time getting a TN for software jobs if they don't graduate with a computer or software engineering degree. This is despite them doing a lot of programming courses as a part of their programs and doing software internships.
Yeah, I know what you mean. This is where I'm hoping my confidence in my ability to charm stubborn cookies in a very unassuming and reserved manner may make a difference.

Thanks for the suggestion about General Studies. I suspect there's no specialization mentioned on the diploma, but I'm asking the TRU advisor anyway.
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Oct 26, 2013
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MapleColouredRaptor wrote:
Aug 18th, 2017 12:33 pm
It is imperative to have tech/IT/Software on the degree/diploma...

MapleColouredRaptor, I have another few questions for you. Your knowledge and instinct has helped me tremendously and I can't thank you enough.

  1. To what extent should I be worried about the "online" aspect of the diploma? Both TRU and Penn Foster, as examples, don't mention "online" or "distance learning" or "open learning" on the diploma, but the individual courses will have it marked on the transcript. My hunch is the fact that most of my studies were actually completed at a physical location and transferred over will be a good counterbalance to the above negative bias, if the officer decides to dig that deeply. Do you agree?
  2. I'm trying to visualize the actual process at the Port of Entry (in my case, Pearson Airport). I've actually interviewed with Amazon a year ago in Seattle and didn't get the offer (this time I interviewed at a hiring event in Kitchener/Waterloo). When I was at Pearson last year for the trip, I talked to the US Customs official who was initially skeptical of me (I think because I selected "business trip" from the kiosk earlier and I wasn't dressed as a business class person), until I told him I was headed to interview with Amazon. Then he asked me "what position?", I answered, and he let me go. For the TN process, am I going to be talking to the same type of Customs official, or is it a different job category, different line at the airport, etc...? I take it the officer will have no foreknowledge of me upon my arrival, correct? (i.e. the law firm/Amazon doesn't submit anything ahead of time - when I'm at the booth, this is the first time they/their database learn of my attempting to work in the States)
  3. In my case, I believe all I will have with me is my Canadian passport, the electronic application (Form DS-160) as prepared by the firm, the diploma and transcript + UW transcript, the letter of support the firm created with Amazon's instruction, and the signed job offer letter. In your best estimate, did I miss anything?
[OP]
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Oct 26, 2013
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gbershad wrote:
Aug 19th, 2017 10:42 am
MapleColouredRaptor, I have another few questions for you. Your knowledge and instinct has helped me tremendously and I can't thank you enough.
...
Hi, MapleColouredRaptor. I realize you've already given me enough and I don't expect a response to the previous. Regards, gbershad.
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Aug 16, 2017
9 posts
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gbershad wrote:
Aug 19th, 2017 10:42 am
MapleColouredRaptor, I have another few questions for you. Your knowledge and instinct has helped me tremendously and I can't thank you enough.

  1. To what extent should I be worried about the "online" aspect of the diploma? Both TRU and Penn Foster, as examples, don't mention "online" or "distance learning" or "open learning" on the diploma, but the individual courses will have it marked on the transcript. My hunch is the fact that most of my studies were actually completed at a physical location and transferred over will be a good counterbalance to the above negative bias, if the officer decides to dig that deeply. Do you agree?
  2. I'm trying to visualize the actual process at the Port of Entry (in my case, Pearson Airport). I've actually interviewed with Amazon a year ago in Seattle and didn't get the offer (this time I interviewed at a hiring event in Kitchener/Waterloo). When I was at Pearson last year for the trip, I talked to the US Customs official who was initially skeptical of me (I think because I selected "business trip" from the kiosk earlier and I wasn't dressed as a business class person), until I told him I was headed to interview with Amazon. Then he asked me "what position?", I answered, and he let me go. For the TN process, am I going to be talking to the same type of Customs official, or is it a different job category, different line at the airport, etc...? I take it the officer will have no foreknowledge of me upon my arrival, correct? (i.e. the law firm/Amazon doesn't submit anything ahead of time - when I'm at the booth, this is the first time they/their database learn of my attempting to work in the States)
  3. In my case, I believe all I will have with me is my Canadian passport, the electronic application (Form DS-160) as prepared by the firm, the diploma and transcript + UW transcript, the letter of support the firm created with Amazon's instruction, and the signed job offer letter. In your best estimate, did I miss anything?
1. Yes, I agree. You shouldn't have any prob there
2. You'll be talking to the same kind of immigration officer who will direct you to a secondary area where another officer will inspect your documentation for TN. As for foreknowledge, no amazon would not be submitting anything in advance. However, considering it is US immigration, they will have all the information about your prior visits to the US
3. You have everything you need. I would keep the UW transcript separate from the rest of the application package and only produce it if the need arises
Good luck!

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