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We live in the USA: how to find the first job

Most Russian immigrants begin a new life in America with a residence permit and job search. “Forum” wrote in detail about legal immigration to the United States. In this series - material on how to find a job and what to consider when doing so.

In the US, there is a lot of work and low unemployment - according to the Bureau of Statistics of the Ministry of Labor, total 5% - and this is the lowest figure in the last seven and a half years. Of the eight million unemployed Americans, about three hundred thousand have applied for unemployment benefits.

Average hourly wage in US private companies in September of this year was 25,9 dollars. The minimum rate is 7,25 dollars per hour across the country, but individual states often set their limits above national ones.

But formally, all the advantages of a booming American economy can be used only by those who are legally in the country and have a work permit. However, work and find illegal illegals.

Poor maria

For two months, Maria Krikun, who came from St. Petersburg, has been looking for work in New York. For her, the main thing is to pay in cash, since Maria does not have an official work permit, and when it will be, it is not known.

Maria came to America on the popular student program “Work and Travel”. She got a summer job as a maid at a Cape Cod hotel in Massachusetts. That time, the student remembers with horror. “It was not work, but hard labor. A female manager treated us like dogs! Hellish work. My back is still whining, ”says Maria.

After the expiration of the term, the former St. Petersburg citizen remained illegitimate in the USA and is trying to conquer New York without documents. She says that she is not the first, she is not the last.

Maria Krikun, illegally staying in the US, is looking for a job in New York. Photos from the personal archive

Maria Krikun, illegally staying in the US, is looking for a job in New York. Photos from the personal archive

The Russian-speaking district of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. Maria already knows her own way — she has bypassed almost all cafes and restaurants in search of work. “Forum” met with a girl at the exit of the Russian pharmacy after a regular interview. With tears in her eyes, Maria reported that everything went bad: the pharmacy owner Aaron offered 7 dollars an hour for the work of the cashier. He explained simply: no documents - no good money.

“This Aaron just asked me about colloquial English. And can I lift some boxes. I replied that I can’t do physical work. He also said that for two days I needed an internship. Attention, free of charge! ”Maria complains.

However, she does not give up and is trying to resist the temptation to return to Russia.

“I have a higher education, red diploma manager in the field of tourism. But I don’t want to work for 25 thousand rubles in the northern capital of Russia. I will hold on. I really hope for good luck! ”- says the student.

All illegal immigrants

In America, there are several states and cities in which people from the CIS countries settle compactly. There you can always find illegal work. The leaders are Sunny Isles in Florida, the “Ukrainian village” in the western part of Chicago, Gary Boulevard in San Francisco, West Hollywood and little Armenia in Los Angeles, Gwinnett district in Atlanta, North East in Philadelphia, the Gallery area in the west. Houston and, of course, Brighton in New York. Here and signs in Russian: “Herbal pharmacy”, cafe “Tbilisi”. Wanted waiters, sellers, storekeepers, porters, builders, packers of goods.

Svetlana Meshurova lives in the Bensorhurst district in Brooklyn. At home, the former Muscovite worked as a cosmetologist. But to pursue a career in New York, you need a license and training, and it costs money. Therefore, Svetlana went to clean the apartment. The working day lasts only three to five hours. For the exit she is paid 40 dollars.

“After working in a beauty salon in Moscow, of course, everything looks just awful. But I myself wanted it! I moved to America, now I have such a period in my life. And the people in the houses where I clean, treat me well. Sometimes they give twenty dollars for tea. It turns out that I can earn all sixty out of it, ”says Svetlana.

Russian easily agree on cheap and illegal labor. It is proposed, mainly hard physical labor. Visitors receive income, and employers evade high taxes.

Job ads can be found even in shop windows. Photo by Denis Cheredov

Job ads can be found even in shop windows. Photo by Denis Cheredov

Vladimir arrived in New York from Moscow. Almost a year worked in a restaurant in Brighton. Shifts lasted for fourteen or even sixteen hours.

“The waiters are mostly illegal, students and newly arrived immigrants. The dirtiest and hardest work falls on their shoulders. You obey almost everyone in the restaurant, with the exception of the Mexican dishwashers. You have to do the cleaning of dirty tables, and unloading and loading operations, and evening cleaning of the restaurant, ”the man recalls. Most of all, Vladimir remembered the banquets in this restaurant - then he had to lift stacks of clean dishes up the stairs, and then lower the containers filled with heavy dirty dishes into the basement.

But even an illegal employee has rights. Attorney Arthur Gershfeld advises seeking help from his state’s Department of Labor (for example, This The site has all the necessary information for New York).

“It all depends on the business where you work. For example, you are illegally settled in a construction company. If you are thrown for money, then you write a letter or go to the Bureau of Better Business Practice in New York or the state where you worked, ”- says Gershfeld.

According to him, the employer will have to pay you, because he understands very well that if the service starts checking and finds violations, you can lose the license.

An illegal may even count on moral damages, but in order to win a case, it is still better to contact a lawyer.

“An illegal has the same rights as a legally employed person in terms of [social] security. If it comes to court, the court in most cases will be on the side of the employee. The man worked, albeit illegally. And the employer, knowing that an employee without documents, took him and bears responsibility for it, ”the lawyer notes.

In any case, an employer who has been caught using illegal labor can be fined up to 10 thousands of dollars, and in some cases even faces jail. For example, if an employer forced an employee to engage in prostitution.

Caution: scammers

Jobs abound for every taste there is in “Russian advertising". Information also comes out in print - in the eponymous newspaper for 1,25 dollars.

In the newspaper "Russian Advertising" you can find only legal ads, but on the site - and illegal. Photo by the author

In the newspaper "Russian Advertising" you can find only legal ads, but on the site - and illegal. Photo by Denis Cheredov

It is interesting that work for cash (the employer is ready to pay according to the “gray” scheme) illegal immigrants can only be found in the Internet version of this newspaper.

Most of the ads with job offers in “Russian Advertising” are placed by employment agencies. Conditions are similar: the applicant pays from 150 to 300 dollars (it is possible by installments), the company is looking for work. The chance of running into fraudsters is very high here. However, those who do not know English or just arrived, have practically no other choice.

The “Forum” tried to clarify with “Russian Advertising” why they publish advertisements and advertisements that may be illegal. However, a man named Pavel who answered our inquiry said that the answer would cost five hundred dollars.

Screen Shot at 2015 10-28-11.23.24 AM

One of those who took advantage of the ad and later regretted it was 28-year-old lawyer Dana Ali. She came from Astana, but in America the Kazakh diploma is not recognized, so the girl had to start from scratch. While Dana was waiting for a work permit, she decided to try her luck at the employment agency and find a job for cash.

Lawyer Dana Ali suffered from a fraudulent scheme. Photos from the personal archive

And immediately she ran into a very well-known mediator Clara in Russian-speaking circles, who receives candidates in Manhattan, on 34-th Street.

“In the office, everything in the skin is expensive, rich. Clara greeted me with a smile. A woman of years 45-50. A typical Soviet lady, a blonde with a three-story bang and a slight Ukrainian accent, ”Dan described her first impression in this way.

The mediator offered Dana to arrange for her as a waitress or seller with a salary of 10 dollars per hour. For services, Clara asked 160 dollars and explained the terms of the oral contract: there are three attempts, and then the contract is canceled. “I thought it was quite good for an illegal. I decided that I could definitely carry the plates, and from three places I would definitely catch on somewhere, ”recalls the applicant.

However, having paid the money, Dana never got a job. According to the girl, in all the places where Clara sent her, she was denied from the doorway, since they did not have work.

Judging by the reviews on the Internet, dozens of Russian-speaking became the victims of this mediator only. “Agree about Clara! She took the money and started sending it to places where there are no vacancies, only time and money was spent in vain because of her, ”writes Daria Medinskaya in group VC “Employment agencies”.

The network found a lot of victims of fraud Clara. Screen shot from the social network

The network found a lot of victims of fraud Clara. Screen shot from the social network

The most interesting thing is that the glory does not frighten the very mediator herself. “Forum” checked - the phone of Clara’s agency responds, and she continues to offer her services.

Legal alternatives

Yulia Dovgalyuk and her husband also employ Russian immigrants - however, they do not work with illegal immigrants and don’t take money from applicants.

“We always ask about documents, about the level of knowledge of the English language, about work experience. We provide work, so to speak, of a narrow profile: cleaning in hotels, banquet service, ”explains Julia.

Dovgalyuk advises job seekers to always conclude a contract with an agency, take a copy of this contract and inquire in detail about working conditions, salary and schedule. And also - with suspicion to treat agencies that are trying to "tear off money" from illegal immigrants, who are already poor.

There is another Russian “life hack” - if there is no work permit, you can sign an employment contract for the person who has it. True, finding such a kind person (usually a friend or relative) is not easy. He or she will have to not only give you your salary, but also pay taxes for you. Also, due to increased incomes, your well-wishers may lose their benefits: for example, free medical insurance, assistance to the poor, and so on.

Pedicabs, dances in the subway and other creative earnings

Many, at first glance, harmless side jobs can end badly. For example, working in a beauty salon or a massage therapist requires a license, and in the absence of it you may be fined. Even dancing and songs on the subway is a risky type of earnings, as the police can regard this as a violation of public order, arrest and fine $ 100. Last year, New York police arrested 240 performers in the subway and almost half later finedand.

An interesting way out was suggested by Nikolai Melnikov, a rickshaw in Central Park in New York. According to him, despite the lack of a work permit, he received special permit pedicabs, which costs about 50 dollars a year. “Forum” clarified: to get a rickshaw license, you really do not need a work permit.

Nikolai Melnikov obtained a rickshaw license in New York without a work permit. Photo author

Nikolai Melnikov obtained a rickshaw license in New York without a work permit. Photo by Denis Cheredov

“I rent my pedal bike. In the month of 300 dollars is obtained. I work as I want. The main thing is that the weather was good. I go to work in the morning and I do not know if I will have clients. It was such that in a day I did not earn a cent. But yesterday 50 dollars were given for one good walk, ”he describes his work. To the question of the “Forum” about how Nikolai Melnikov pays taxes, the guy replied that such work was not taxed.

List of useful resources for job search

Russian relama

Jobs in Brooklyn

Jobs in Chicago

Freelance (all of America, more suitable for creative specialties).


Indeed - one of the leading job search sites worldwide. About 180 millions of people from 50 countries visit it every month.

Monster - site for job search, free for job seekers. There is a salary estimate.

Craigslist - A lot of unskilled work, in English, in US cities.

Work in IT

Career builder - Another good job search site (in English).

Resume Rabbit - a website through which you can send your resume to many other sites, as well as keep track of vacancies.

Ask For Task - application on a mobile phone, to search for part time jobs.

Snag a job - Another application for finding a one-time job.

Social network

Jobs in New York (bMore than 7 thousand participants).

Russian New York Russian New (aboutKolo 6 Thousands of Participants).

Jobs in Miami (more than 3 thousands of members).

Russian Mix New York (NYC) (more than 2,5 thousands of members).

Russian America (more than 3,5 thousands of members).

Russian-speaking world (NOften 7 thousands of participants).

Russian New York (VKontakte)

Another group in VK

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