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How to Find a Job If You’re a U.S. Immigrant

With an unemployment rate lower than 4 percent in 2018, foreigners who are allowed to work in the United States are finding a lot of job opportunities. A 2017 survey conducted by, a popular internet job board, indicated that one third of American employers specifically look for foreign-born applicants to fill vacant positions at their companies. 

The first thing foreigners must know about working in the U.S. is that they must be legally cleared to do so by means of a visa or work permit. Both immigrants and non-immigrants can work in the U.S. In fact, there are more work visas available to non-immigrants than to immigrants who intend to become permanent residents. Needless to say, proficiency in the English language is a must, while fluency in other languages is a plus. 

It is a good idea for foreign job applicants who are not familiar with the U.S. to inquire with San Diego immigration lawyers about their options. Here are some of the most common work visas and permits issued through the Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Temporary, Non-Immigrant Work Visas 

H-1B – Mostly for IT workers who have university degrees

H-2B – Temporary and seasonal workers who do not have degrees 

E1 and E2 – These visas are for finance professionals who seek temporary work as investors or traders

L-1 – This visa is for foreign workers who are temporary transfers to companies with offices in the U.S.

Work Permits for Immigrants 

EAD – Asylum, refugee, and family-based immigration applicants must complete Form I-765 and get Employment Authorization Documents

EB-1 – Green cards granted to foreigners who have special abilities in arts, sciences, athletics, education, and research

EB-2 – Green cards granted to people with special abilities in arts, sciences, athletics, education, and research or those who are sponsored by their employers

EB-3 – This permit is for skilled and unskilled applicants who are sponsored by their employers

Job applicants who are on the immigration path must generally obtain their permits before they can start looking for work. Once they have this document along with a taxpayer identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service, finding a job is a matter of applying and submitting evidence of employment authorization. The employer must conduct a compliance step known as E-Verify plus I-9 completion and filing. 

In the case of temporary workers on non-immigrant visas, employers will have a higher level of involvement in getting them hired, particularly regarding H-1B and L-1 visas. Many employers who operate in the technology sector partner with job agencies abroad to find qualified H-1B candidates, and they also retain the services of immigration law firms to make the process smoother. 

Foreign job applicants should not get discouraged if they are not hired on the spot. Business and economic conditions tend to change very quickly in the U.S., and there will always be other employers who are interested in hiring applicants who speak more than one language.

If you need immigration services in San Diego, CA, reach out to the trusted immigration attorneys at KS Visa Law. Call 858-874-0711 today with your immigration-related questions.

May 2024