There are many expats that live in Silicon Valley, which is one of the biggest drivers of the U.S. economy - and indeed the world economy. It is considered the most famous technology hub in the world, and it's hard to imagine a credible argument against that assertion. It is the home to Apple, Google, Facebook and many, many others.
Basics For Expats in Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley, geographically, is an area south of San Francisco that runs down south of San Jose.
However, the entire San Francisco Bay Area is sometimes collectively referred to as Silicon Valley because of the vast number of technology companies throughout.
The San Francisco Bay Area encompasses San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and the smaller rural, suburban and urban areas around those cities.
Expat Jobs in Silicon Valley
Tech jobs in Silicon Valley fluctuate, and that obviously includes jobs for expats. This is due to the amount of funding available and the number of start ups. The tech behemoths tend to have some openings at all times, but again they are also to some degree subject to the general economic environment. However, the constant theme from Silicon Valley is that there is not enough domestic "talent" to fill the openings available.
AngelList is a platform for startups to meet investors, talent and incubators.
Dice.com is a great site for tech jobs. It is not specific to Silicon Valley, but you can search using zip codes or area names (cities, counties, etc.). There are a lot of jobs posted in the Silicon Valley areas by major tech employers.
The H1-B is the visa expats use for entering the United States to obtain technology jobs.
It is a visa in extremely high demand from people all over the world. CNN recently wrote a story about the 2016 H1-B program for expats coming into the United States, reporting that "this year, 236,000 foreigners applied for the H-1B, the most common visa for high-skilled foreign workers. That's up 3,000 from 2015 -- and up significantly more from 2014 which had 172,500 applications."
In the United States, the program is controversial. Many in the United States worry that the program is taking jobs away from U.S. citizens, that the program doesn't provide jobs to who it is designed for, among other issues.
Others, however, feel that more visas should be granted to help encourage more technological development in the United States. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg started a website called FWD.us to explain this position.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote an article about ending abuse of the program, and WSJ.com wrote an article about how to fix the H1-B program.
Expats Shouldn't Assume They Know Enough About America
An expat from Sweden who works in Silicon Valley was interviewed by Fast Company about what it's like for expats there said:
"If I move to another country again, I will go with a more humble approach. I will go there thinking that I know nothing and try and learn everything from scratch. It's quicker to learn than to unlearn."
He also added: "It's important to get your expectations right about how people will perceive you. You could be the market leader in Germany. People don't talk about Germany as a market. It is a big place. It's a big deal. In Europe it's a big deal, but here it's not."
Read the entire interview... it has good insight for people coming into Silicon Valley for the first time.
Silicon Valley Has Great Food and Entertainment
The great thing for expats in Silicon Valley is that all of the areas in and around the San Francisco Bay Area are filled with things to do. There are amazing restaurants in San Francisco and best restaurants in San Jose.
In a two hours or less, expats in San Jose can get to San Francisco, Monterrey, Santa Cruz, Napa Valley and more. (That's without traffic, which is a major issue in Silicon Valley.)
In the San Jose area itself, families can visit the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, and the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo for starters.
Sports enthusiasts in Silicon Valley can enjoy the San Jose Sharks hockey team, the San Francisco Giants baseball team, and the San Francisco 49ers. Stanford University Athletics are also popular.