Employment in the U.S.

Employment in the United States is very important. Finding, getting, and keeping a job is important to your family’s future and well-being. It is the fastest way to self-sufficiency and is necessary for success. Your Resettlement Agency will assist in connecting you to employment services, but ultimately you will play a central role in finding and keeping a job. You should be prepared to actively pursue employment as soon as you arrive in the United States. Learn more about Employment in the United States below.

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Finding a Job

All adults, both men and women, who are between the ages of 18 – 64 and are able to work should make finding a job a priority. A job allows you to support yourself and your family. Government assistance is limited in time and amount, so it is important for you to find a job as soon as possible after you arrive in the United States.

Employment is not guaranteed by the government or your Resettlement Agency. It may take weeks or months to find a job and you may have several job interviews. You should work with your employment specialist to find a job and learn common interview tips.

You will be expected to accept the first job that is offered to you, even if it is not highly paid or in your field, so that you can build a work history and begin to support your family. If you do not take a job that is offered, you may lose government assistance. There are often many people applying for the same job, so it is important to be willing to accept an entry-level job in a new field. To build a good work history, you should stay in the job for at least 6 months.

Employment in the United States
Employment in the United States

Work Culture in the United States

The United States is known as a land of opportunity for those who work hard. To obtain a better, higher paying job you will need to speak, read, and write English and you may need to learn new skills. If you worked in a specific profession in your country, you may need to attend classes and obtain a certification before you are able to work in that field in the United States.

Both women and men work in the United States. Women make up half the work force, do the same jobs as men at all levels, and often supervise male workers.

In the United States, children around 14 years old and older may work at part-time jobs, but they may be limited in the number of hours they can work and the types of jobs they can do. Many young people in the United States work part time after school, on the weekends, and during vacations. The United States has laws to protect youth workers.

Employment in the United States

Employment Rights and Responsibilities

In the United States, employees have rights as well as responsibilities in the workplace. You have the right to be paid for your work and employment laws protect workers from unsafe working conditions. It is also important to pay your taxes in the United States.

An employer may not discriminate against you because of your refugee status or deny you a job or a promotion because of your age, disability, marital status, ethnic or national origin, race, religion, gender, sex, or sexual orientation. However, some jobs, especially in government, are only open to U.S. citizens.

Workers have the right to work in an environment that is also free from discrimination and harassment. Sexual harassment is any behavior of a sexual nature that makes a person feel intimidated or uncomfortable and it is not tolerated in the work place.

Employment in the United States
Employment in the United States

Frequently Asked Questions

Your Resettlement Agency will connect you to employment services wherever you are resettled, but you will play a central role in finding and keeping a job. Finding employment in the U.S. is important, and your first job will probably not be in the same profession or field as your job in your home country. It may be an entry level, non-professional job, and may even be temporary or part-time. Because the cost of living is high in the United States, it is common, and often necessary, for both men and women to work outside the home.

Public transportation is available in most U.S. cities. Cars are not provided as part of the resettlement process. Therefore, you may need to rely on public transportation to access your first job.

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Learn on the go

The Settle In app is a helpful companion to support you during your resettlement journey to the United States. Learn about life in the United States and build your skills with fun quizzes and lessons. 

More ways to learn

With interactive lessons and videos, there’s always something new to discover. Settle In makes it fun to learn about resettling in the United States. Learn at your own pace – we’re here to guide the way.