Exploring Opportunities for Elixir Developers with Non-US Residency

As an experienced Elixir developer with two years of expertise in Elixir, Phoenix, and LiveView, I have been actively searching for job opportunities on various platforms, including the Elixir forum. However, as a non-US resident, I have noticed a limited number of job options available for developers like me. I would like to start a discussion with the Elixir community to explore possible solutions for non-US residents to access more job opportunities in the field.

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Sadly there are not many opportunities for elixir jobs in general and now with crisis in europe, it is even worse, there are a lot of discussions on forum about this and it seems that this problem was persistent from long ago.

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I’m also on that boat as someone with 3 years of Elixir experience who had to find a job in another stack. I’m already used to just accept the status quo following with what is available.

I also have two years of experience in PETAL stack and two years in MERN stack, sadly because of the current situation, I can’t find anything, I am also thinking about switching back to MERN until I found my next opportunity in Elixir.

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Well the job market is bad for pretty much all the stacks right now. From what I hear from folks, some at least had interviews for Elixir based roles after getting hit with insta-auto-rejection at most other places.

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Yeah, it would be such a relief if most US companies would allow remote work and same goes for UK companies as their markets are pretty similar where UK’s one is a bit more open for EU workers. However that’s not the only problem we have …

  1. The Asia market may be bigger than we expect, however they use their own services, so most people in EU/US is not aware how the market looks like for them. Also I would not expect that they are so open for just English speaking developers (if so their offers would be also on our platforms).

  2. The French market is really ermetic. Maybe there are open for remote work from other countries, but French is required no matter what skills you have.

  3. The East Europe have terrible rates, they often offer a junior salary for seniors (comparing to West EU of course).

  4. In other EU countries Elixir market was not so popular as in above and so if there is an offer then there is no surprise if they would require another language skills (like Brazil, Spanish etc.).

The only exception for above is Germany. They provide one of the best if not the best salaries in EU. They allow for remote work. German is often at most nice to have and rarely required. They have really healthy business, for example they are often really open to help for relocation.

Sadly for many people relocation to West EU is not a good option because of religion wars, NO GO zones, situation around yellow vests in French, EU attacks on UK’s market (after Brexit) and many other political decisions (like the situations related to covid coming directly to totalitarian regimes).

Honestly if countries like Japan would be actively supporting people like me who just want to work, be a part of their community, are willing to learn and relocate providing language courses, permanent visa and other help I would be the first one willing to go. Unfortunately currently people need to have some kind of contact with their local market, more or less know the Japanese and find a company that is willing to support relocation (not every one could even do that).

Speaking for Asia (or for India at least):

From an Elixir point of view we ourselves don’t have a very clear idea of the market here. The Elixir market is very, very, very new here and we’re just starting to see Elixir devs (I know for a fact that there is an Elixir team at Gojek, here in Bangalore).

I would suspect this to be true in places like Japan, Korea and China where they can afford to be snobby about language. In places like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore and maybe even Bangladesh everything happens in English. In India for example, there are just far too many local languages that are spoken and picking one as a lingua franca will only result in fewer candidates and controversy. So, the language for work is English. I’m not too sure about Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, but I guess in IT everything happens in English simply because selling your product (i.e. to foreigners) and creating your product (i.e. reading docs, using forums, practically interacting with a software community etc) needs English at the bare minimum. I for one haven’t seen any Thai docs for Elixir, and I don’t think there will ever be any substantial number of them.

The actual problem at hand is very different. It’s not linguistic but rather economic. The salaries in Asia just can’t compete with what is expected in developed nations like the US/EU/UK etc. For one the cost living is much lower over here. A dozen eggs costs INR 60 (which is about 73 cents) in Bangalore (which is an expensive city by indian standards). Comparing that what I least heard about NYC which is about USD 5.35 per dozen. That’s almost sevenfold! What can pay for a very comfortable life here in Asia isn’t much in the US/EU where the cost of living is at another scale. That’s why you don’t see Asian jobs in your job portals.

However from an APAC point of view, there are 3 English speaking nations that are an exception to this phenomenon: Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. The problem with these places is that they are just too far away from rest of the developed world (i.e. US East Coast and EU), so timezones become an issue. I guess US West Coast could work with AUS or NZ, but that is eliminated cause we’re speaking for people with Non-US Residency. This just might be possible for people living in Mexico and South America (i.e. Chile, Peru but probably not Brazil) but timezone-wise I expect it to be similar to collaborating from US East Coast.

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I mean Asia-specific apps like Line in Japan.

snobby may be France as they were empire and they expect everyone to use French. Especially Japan is really a local market with English used only for tourism. China on one side have a nationalism propaganda (they want to become a big player like they do in their history), but on the other side they are producers, so I expect a big number of people in this branch to use many languages.

i.e. post colonial countries or countries focused on transport. btw. Isn’t Pakistan going more to China in general since lots of investments in transport to sea and ports? As above mostly I was talking about strong local markets.

Taiwan is “traditional China”, so they use same/similar language, but because of factories they may know English pretty well.

Malaysia and Philippines (see street view) are rather open to English. A “small Asia” (except Singapore) most probably focus on their own languages and I guess there are more interested in China, because of export from it.

If there is a really strong local market then you may find lots of translations. I’m sure about Chinese and most probably there are also Japanese.

I would say it depend on country. As far as I know in Japan a good month for one person costs around 400k JPY which is above 2.6k EUR. Just for sure I’m talking about net salary. In countries like Romania especially before covid even 600 EUR (around minimum salary now) for 2 people should be enough. Of course it’s not a money for everyday restaurant, but it’s already a good life standard.

Depends on type of work. I did not had any problem working with text chat only. Working remotely with elastic hours have no issues in this place at all.

You’re likely confusing Taiwan and Thailand. I lived in Taiwan for eight years, but left about a decade ago and haven’t spent much time there since. Young people know English, but are generally shy about speaking it because they don’t get much opportunity to practice, and are mostly reading/writing it. But I expect in the software arena, it would be fine especially as most communication would be asynchronous.

But salaries in Taiwan are very low for graduates, with a lot of graduate unemployment. (A lot of Taiwan graduates moved to China for higher salaries, but now China is also suffering from high-unemployment amongst graduates that will likely push salaries lower.) And, without looking up labour laws, I don’t think Taiwan companies would get away with the 9-9-6 culture of 72-hour work weeks that are common in China.

For anyone wanting to work in tech in Taiwan, the government introduced a very flexible visa program in 2018. To quality, software engineers need to be on a current monthly salary of NT$160,000 (currently US$5,200) or qualify under one of 12 other conditions. It’s very flexible in that you can bring your wife and kids, work for any company (in or outside Taiwan), and get permanent residency after three years.

Getting back to the main subject, I’d be surprised to find companies in Taiwan using Elixir. And if they existed, they would likely be paying much lower salaries than you would expect. But Taiwan has great quality of life with amazing food, lots of culture, and great public transportation. And, yes, it’s fair to argue that Taiwan has preserved more of traditional Chinese culture, since it didn’t reset itself in 1966.


right, thanks - I have updated my comment

Yeah, I guess it looks similar in other Asian countries

Same in Poland. People after medicine usually have only one way … UK. :sweat_smile:

I wonder what conditions they have. It’s not like that I can come any time and say that I want to create my own LLC company or something like that and work for clients in many countries, do I?

It’s not so simple. If some company needs Elixir and there are not much developers, the actual salaries may be higher than in more popular languages. In general there are 2 conditions. Firstly company is willing to pay. Secondly you can prove your work is worth it. Also if you are already there on permanent visa then what’s stopping you from working remotely with companies around the world?

It actually sounds very flexible. I read elsewhere that it’s smoother if you can show that recent monthly pay stub of the equivalent of US$5,200, rather than proving you have special skills, etc. I’d suggest signing up for something like Xolo Go so that you can bill multiple clients if you want to do consultancy work in many countries from Taiwan.

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You can apply for permanent residency in Japan after working as a highly skilled professional with 80 points or more for one year. However, I would advise against moving to Japan just for a job, the culture shock is too great. You have to have other motivations, and the job follows.


Disclaimer: I run this website.


That’s less than 4750 EUR per month. My last 8-month contract in 2021 was priced by client on 7k EUR. In that case it looks really interesting for everyone having a company in EU and wanting to relocate to Taiwan. Very interesting, thanks …

Yeah, but you can’t do it yourself just because you have some skills, but instead you need to find a company that is able and willing to help you with it. Also what if you just want to create your own company instead or some other form of (in fact) self-employment?

I did choose Romania, because Japan was completely closed when I was creating a company. Instead of conditions you said I was able to create a company fully remotely and relocate to it later when everything was ready and waiting for me. All I need to have was an ID or passport. Unfortunately not every country is so open.

I completely understand you … When Japan government did not want people to enter some public place instead of restrictions against human rights they choose to … close for example a park. That freedom to go outside, peaceful people without any religion war, no NO GO zones, no Fit for 55 and so on … That’s a completely different culture, but you know what? I think that somehow I can deal with such a shock. :joy:

But seriously … It would not take long for me to decide if I would choose (in short) honne and tatemae over all above. The bigger shock for me is how EU and US changed over all those years.

There are options. Not for self-employment, but for example the city where I live provides a startup visa. You need to have a business plan however… So yes, it’s a complex process with strings attached. But that’s Japan :slight_smile:

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Looks better and I would definitely bookmark it :+1:, but still if they would not truly open then they would miss more and more money. The business is not about conditions, visa and other paper work stuff, but simply people have some ideas, some of them may fail even if everything was properly prepared. When investing money in some company people don’t want to hear “maybe”, but they want to simply estimate costs and time they need to invest especially if it’s about startups. Any conditions only favors corporations which have people for doing paper work and lots of money.

The country derives income from taxes, so it should do everything to help doing so. There should be one simple business/working visa for everyone for let’s say a month, so everyone can enter country to for example create a company. The person with such visa should be guided on airport where tax office can be found and there should be guided what to do in specific case. When everything is set additionally they should promote free language courses, exams and other stuff from which they would derive something from.

Unfortunately politics in many countries does not understand that. One may say that they are going to improve, but would you accept same when it comes for example for package delivery? Maybe the package come to you after a year, but before changes it took 2 years or more … Who cares? In business in general any kind of delay (delivery, paper work etc.) does not affects positively on market. I wrote above to show that’s one of the reasons of problems on job market.

btw. @adamu would you mind if I would ask you on pm about help/questions with what you have linked? For now things works for me in Romania, but maybe later I may be interested in this topic from from practical side.

This made me think about why remote.com is doing facilitating the legal paperwork to provide the opportunity for people and companies to work together regardless the location they are based.

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Most of the information I know is already in the links above. I just wanted to respond to your points about Japan demonstrating that the options are there for people that are interested.

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