Today I travelled 2 hours from Miramar, Puntarenas (where I am currently living with my boyfriend) to Guachilpelin (a suburb right outside of San Jose) in order to interview with Emerson. Emerson is a multi-national company who is in the process of creating a shared service center here in Costa Rica for all the finance and accounting functions needed for various of their companies. I am a Certified Public Accountant in the U.S. and am only here in Costa Rica on a tourist visa at this point.
The question is, will Emerson really be able to hire me? Before moving down to Costa Rica, I had read several blogs and websites that made it seem like it was possible for a U.S. or multinational company to help a foreign candidate complete and submit all the necessary paperwork in order to apply for a work permit. Of course, that person had to have a skill or ability that was not easily found in Costa Rica already. The job I am applying for with Emerson requires 100% fluency in English, as well as a solid understanding of U.S. GAAP accounting. I applied for the job because I figured these were two things that would be hard to find in a Costa Rican trained accountant. As the job has been open for 2 months now, I'm pretty sure I was correct in my assumption.
I can tell that the HR folks at Emerson are really anxious to hire me. Despite this, my interview today ended with the words, "The only problem I foresee is getting you the work permit. Immigration makes the process very difficult. We will have to consult with our lawyers." I was already aware that it was not going to be an easy or short process since, after arriving in Costa Rica and consulting with an immigration lawyer, I was basically told it's next to impossible to get these work permits through company sponsorship and that my best bet was to get married as soon as possible with my boyfriend and just apply for residency.
I'd rather not rush into marriage just for work papers, but it's not completely out of the question if this is the only way to go. In the meantime I'm looking into some work-at-home opportunities and enjoying my free time exploring Costa Rica. I'm hoping Emerson decides to go through the long and difficult process of helping me get the work permit. But I'm not holding my breath at this point:(