I’ve been a cofounder of a Los Angeles-based startup for two years now as the main designer and Creative Director. We have received millions in venture capital backing, had multiple acquisition offers, and design has been a huge part of that.
Additionally, I have been offered jobs by dozens of the top tech firms and startups in the country. Unfortunately, my immigration options as a Canadian citizen are extremely limited due to my lack of a design degree; meaning my skills and talents aren’t formally recognized by most visa options.
Nearly 4 years ago, I dropped out of a top business undergraduate program in Canada to pursue what was just a hobby at the time: design. It was a huge risk, but has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
When I started RadPad with my cofounders who are in L.A. (and US citizens), we had never imagined it would be so difficult to attain a visa due to my limited options. The O-1, which I have currently applied for (pending), is expensive and very hard to secure because of all the extraordinary requirements it sets out.
The TN is not an option without an education or certificate. The H-1B is not widely available due to the hundreds of thousands who apply each year.
In 2012 alone, only 1,592 visas were issued to those without a US Bachelor Degree out of 135,530 issued total. Foreigners like myself have the skills desired by top US tech firms but are being shut out because we don’t have a diploma framed on the wall.
Times are changing, and while a formal education is still considered important we have seen tons of successful tech entrepreneurs rise without having gone to a post-secondary institution. Please review the unfair immigration system and allow people like myself to work within and contribute to the United States.
– Tyler Galpin,
CoFounder & Creative Director, RadPad