What are the job opportunities in the USA for foreigners?

job opportunities in the USA for foreigners

Did you already ask yourself: why me and not an American Citizen? Here I will show you all the job opportunities you can get in the USA as a foreigner or an international student.

Given our experience, I know the way you are thinking about how hard it is to find a job as a foreigner or international student in the USA when a company can easily hire an American for the free spot, indeed.

You’re right. It’s actually the case for 90% of the job market. Companies are quite satisfied with local hiring, and they don’t need more. And you know what? Let them be in peace.

But what is happening with the 10% left? Do you really think that it is easy for them to hire someone?

Even if the American politics is not at the advantage of immigrants and foreigners today; as it is harder and harder to get a visa in the USA, you still have your chances! Let me explain:

My language, my culture, my citizenship

The first point concerns your language and/or culture. We need you to represent your culture or language in a few kinds of jobs!

In this era of globalization, many companies think that an international staff can be a keystone on a company’s ability to succeed in the global market that never stops. Let’s see all job opportunities in this field you can get:

  • If you speak a second (or more) language(s), it’s a real plus for the company!

It was the case for us, Max and I. As my company has its French quarter in Paris, they were looking for someone who was able to communicate both well, in English and French.

  • Culture understanding

If the company has a subsidiary or an office in your home country, much different from the culture of the United States, the company needs someone who can manage with people in your culture, and they need you. They cannot go further without someone like you.

  • If the founder, executive, or manager of the company have the same citizenship as you

It depends on how long these people have stayed in the US, but those are more likable to hire people who fit the most with how they think. And they are more than you think… For example, Los Angeles where live around 4 million people. Following public records, 37.7% of the Los Angeles residents are Foreign-born population (around 1.5 million) from which: 6.5% (98,029) are from Europe, 29.9% (447,826) from Asia, 1.6% (24,339) from Africa; and 61.6% (924,078) from Latin America. See more here! Is that not crazy? You can do the same research for other cities like New York City, San Francisco, Miami, etc.

  • Also, if the company has his headquarter in your home country, and has subsidiaries or offices in the United States of America

It’s quite possible; the policy of the company is to have a percentage of people in your nationality to not forget the source of the company and work in harmony with different mixte points of view.

  • Everywhere in the USA where there are people of the same citizenship/language as yours, you will find services in this language

Because clients with your citizenship/culture/language are here! They need assistance in their language or services. It can be schoolsteachers (parents want their children to conserve the language), accountants for foreign entrepreneurs (with double skills accounting in your country, and in the US), lawyers (with double bar to deal with investors/international entrepreneurs), real estates (double languages, double skills) for people who arrive and have no idea how to deal to find a house, church (different religion and culture), even public services (you will find public services like DMV which offer services in Spanish), etc.

  • It can also be the case the company wants to cultivate a brand image

For example, French people in the USA are famous for luxury, fashion, food, and wine. So it’s not unusual that international brands like LVMH or L’Oréal always look for hiring French people in the United States of America at every stage, every position. The same thing for French restaurants: to diffuse the authenticity to the clients, they always look to hire a French cook, French waiter, etc.

How is your culture famous in the US?

  • Also, you can serve your own country from the USA

In that case, it’s the government or private companies of your country that sends you to the USA to report and/or deal with American representatives in private or public. It concerns journalism, military, government diplomacy, research laboratories, universities, international organizations, etc.

The difficulty of the company to hire in local

Trust me or not, it happens A LOT depending on the sector you work. In July 2018 in the USA, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent. Whatever you think, today is not the worst time to get a job in the USA at all!

Companies can have a hard time to hire locally because of several effects:

  • Not enough special skills that are required for the job

It happens a lot in the science sector which clearly represents a lack of skilled people in the US market: IT, biological, mathematics, research, medicine.  

  • Not enough workforce in a specific period of time

 It concerns companies that suddenly need hundreds of employees to strengthen labor. It often happens for seasonal peaks of sales or seasonal works, like winter or summer activities, or during special events. Or it can also be in the case the company won a big contract and sold thousands of products. In that case, you don’t need to be skilled at all, you will be trained by the company.

  • Jobs that an American doesn’t want, but you do

Yes, it can also be the case. It concerns agriculture and farming. America needs the workforce to feed their folk, and there is a lack of labor right know for that!

  •  Salary too high, cannot pay someone locally

And foreigners will be more flexible on this point. It often happens for small companies or companies that have just started. And in some cases, it’s hard for them to hire someone offshore. They need someone on site! So it’s your chance! Because it won’t be like this indefinitely… Once the company will be able to pay well to their employees, they won’t need new foreigners anymore. But you will be on site already, and they will do absolutely everything to keep you in position (if you do a great job of course). 😉

  • The American is volatile

It means that the employee can quit the company when he wants, and it can be hard for the company to hire someone else quickly, and keep paying costs for each hiring! The median tenure for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years; for employees, age 65 and over is 10.3 years. They know that it’s much harder for a foreigner to quit his job and go work for another company, because of the visa.

You won’t be flexible as you could be as an American or a Green Card holder. Because you will need to find another company who wants to sponsor your visa, alert your organism or the USCIS that you want to change employment/employer. You are not on your own, and the administrative stuff is challenging and painful each time you want to change your employer. Trust me, you don’t want to experiment that a lot, and you don’t want to show your company you have the intention to do that (because it’s an advantage for the employer to hire you). On the other hand, the company can fire you at any time. So it’s a significant benefit for them! It often attracts small companies with not a high budget.

If I have a recognized talent, I’m more than welcome in the US!

It depends on the area of work you are, but if you have a recognized talent, the USA will definitely love that! They like to have talented people from all over the world to serve and represent the country because you will now represent the country and help raise the general level.

So this case is a bit different because actually, the visa is on you and your talent only. You will be able to start the visa application without any sponsoring company. You will need one, but in the end, and to prove that you are going to use your talent in the USA, the company won’t need to do something in particular. The approach with the company will be completely different, as it is actually for all kinds of visa.

Job opportunities in my current company

job opportunities in the USA for international students

It’s not really because you have exceptional skills that nobody has in the US, or because you are from a particular country. It’s because of your company for who you are currently working on needs you in the USA for some reasons!

Because you have worked in the company for a while and you well know how the company works, how is your job at this company, and you are a very good element that the company cannot replace. So it’s going to be hard for the company to find and train someone exactly like you, in a foreign country they don’t yet really know, which is in our case, the United States of America. So it’s going to be much easier for them to transfer you into the US, than hire and train somebody new to do the same job as you do.

It often happens when a company in your home country wants to expand their product and services into the USA.

In conclusion…

More you will match those kinds of needs; more you will have the chance to get hired.

It worked for both of us because we combined 3 of those points above: our companies were small companies, managed by French people, and we work in IT which is highly demanded in the US.

And it works for lots of my students: One was in the sector of quality/security and was hired in a medium-sized business managed by people in her citizenship. Another One was in the sector of marketing/communication and was employed in a small company also managed by people in his citizenship. One was hired as a language teacher in an international school. One in the sector of arts and sculpture. One in waste management in a small company, etc. You can see here all the testimonials.

Those guys, like us:

  • were not in the US to do our job search. They were in Asia, New Zealand, Europe, etc.
  • haven’t American degree or diploma from prestigious universities,
  • were not English bilingual but had a good level anyway for some of them,
  • known nobody in the US before moving here, except me. 🙂

We didn’t have all of that either. We were in Europe at that time, and we did it anyway. But we found a way to accomplish the long quest of getting a job in the USA. So why not you?

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Sarah Papasodaro

Expat in the USA, creator of the blog Vivre au-delà des frontières, and founder of USponsor me. My goal is to help you achieving your American Dream: living and working in the USA. :)

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